Arachidonic acid, a dietary cis-polyunsaturated fatty acid, stimulates adhesion and migration of human cancer cells on the extracellular matrix by activation of intracellular signaling pathways. Polyubiquitin chains bearing linkages through different lysine residues convey distinct structural and functional information that is important for signal transduction. We investigated whether ubiquitination was required for arachidonic acid-induced cellular adhesion and migration of MDA-MB-435 cells on collagen type IV. An E1 (ubiquitin-activating enzyme) inhibitor, PYR-431, completely abrogated arachidonic acid-stimulated adhesion. Additionally, expression of a lysine null mutant ubiquitin prevented activation of cellular adhesion. Cells expressing ubiquitin in which lysine 63 (K63) was mutated to arginine (K63R) were unable to adhere to collagen upon exposure to arachidonic acid. When K63 was the only lysine present, the cells retained the ability to adhere, indicating that K63-linked ubiquitin is both necessary and sufficient. Moreover, K63-linked ubiquitin was required for the induction of cell migration by arachidonic acid. The ubiquitin mutants and PYR-431 did not prevent arachidonic acid-induced phosphorylation of TGF-β activated kinase-1 (TAK1) and p38 MAPK, suggesting K63-linked ubiquitination occurs downstream of MAPK. These novel findings are the first to demonstrate a role for K63-linked ubiquitination in promoting cell adhesion and migration.
Keywords: adhesion, ubiquitin, metastasis, signal transduction, arachidonic acid