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1.  The interaction of IQGAP1 with the exocyst complex is required for tumor cell invasion downstream of Cdc42 and RhoA 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;181(6):985-998.
Invadopodia are actin-based membrane protrusions formed at contact sites between invasive tumor cells and the extracellular matrix with matrix proteolytic activity. Actin regulatory proteins participate in invadopodia formation, whereas matrix degradation requires metalloproteinases (MMPs) targeted to invadopodia. In this study, we show that the vesicle-tethering exocyst complex is required for matrix proteolysis and invasion of breast carcinoma cells. We demonstrate that the exocyst subunits Sec3 and Sec8 interact with the polarity protein IQGAP1 and that this interaction is triggered by active Cdc42 and RhoA, which are essential for matrix degradation. Interaction between IQGAP1 and the exocyst is necessary for invadopodia activity because enhancement of matrix degradation induced by the expression of IQGAP1 is lost upon deletion of the exocyst-binding site. We further show that the exocyst and IQGAP1 are required for the accumulation of cell surface membrane type 1 MMP at invadopodia. Based on these results, we propose that invadopodia function in tumor cells relies on the coordination of cytoskeletal assembly and exocytosis downstream of Rho guanosine triphosphatases.
PMCID: PMC2426946  PMID: 18541705
2.  Actin machinery and mechanosensitivity in invadopodia, podosomes and focal adhesions 
Journal of Cell Science  2009;122(Pt 17):3037-3049.
The invasiveness of cells is correlated with the presence of dynamic actin-rich membrane structures called invadopodia, which are membrane protrusions that are associated with localized polymerization of sub-membrane actin filaments. Similar to focal adhesions and podosomes, invadopodia are cell matrix adhesion sites. Indeed, invadopodia share several features with podosomes, but whether they are distinct structures is still a matter of debate. Invadopodia are built upon an N-WASP-dependent branched actin network, and the Rho GTPase Cdc42 is involved in inducing invadopodial-membrane protrusion, which is mediated by actin filaments that are organized in bundles to form an actin core. Actin-core formation is thought to be an early step in invadopodium assembly, and the actin core is perpendicular to the extracellular matrix and the plasma membrane; this contrasts with the tangential orientation of actin stress fibers anchored to focal adhesions. In this Commentary, we attempt to summarize recent insights into the actin dynamics of invadopodia and podosomes, and the forces that are transmitted through these invasive structures. Although the mechanisms underlying force-dependent regulation of invadopodia and podosomes are largely unknown compared with those of focal adhesions, these structures do exhibit mechanosensitivity. Actin dynamics and associated forces might be key elements in discriminating between invadopodia, podosomes and focal adhesions. Targeting actin regulatory molecules that specifically promote invadopodium formation is an attractive strategy against cancer-cell invasion.
PMCID: PMC2767377  PMID: 19692590
Actins; Animals; Cell Adhesion; Cell Movement; Cell-Matrix Junctions; Extracellular Matrix; Focal Adhesions; Humans; Integrins; Models, Biological; Podosomes; invadopodia; invasion; cancer; osteoporosis
3.  Dynamic Membrane Remodeling at Invadopodia Differentiates Invadopodia from Podosomes 
European journal of cell biology  2010;90(2-3):172-180.
Invadopodia are specialized actin-rich protrusions of metastatic tumor and transformed cells with crucial functions in ECM degradation and invasion. Although early electron microscopy studies described invadopodia as long filament-like protrusions of the cell membrane adherent to the matrix, fluorescence microscopy studies have focused on invadopodia as actin-cortactin aggregates localized to areas of ECM degradation. The absence of a clear conceptual integration of these two descriptions of invadopodial structure has impeded understanding of the regulatory mechanisms that govern invadopodia. To determine the relationship between the membrane filaments identified by electron microscopy and the actin-cortactin aggregates of invadopodia, we applied rapid live-cell high-resolution TIRF microscopy to examine cell membrane dynamics at the cortactin core of the invadopodia of human carcinoma cells. We found that cortactin docking to the cell membrane adherent to 2D fibronectin matrix initiates invadopodium assembly associated with the formation of a invadopodial membrane process that extends from a ventral cell membrane lacuna toward the ECM. The tip of the invadopodial process flattens as it interacts with the 2D matrix, and it undergoes constant rapid ruffling and dynamic formation of filament-like protrusions as the invadopodium matures. To describe this newly discovered dynamic relationship between the actin-cortactin core and invadopodial membranes, we propose a model of the invadopodial complex. Using TIRF microscopy, we also established that – in striking contrast to the invadopodium – membrane at the podosome of a macrophage fails to form any process- or filament-like membrane protrusions. Thus, the undulation and ruffling of the invadopodial membrane together with the formation of dynamic filament-like extensions from the invadopodial cortactin core defines invadopodia as invasive superstructures that are distinct from the podosomes.
PMCID: PMC3153956  PMID: 20656375
invadopodia; podosomes; cortactin; focal adhesions; invasion
4.  A new role for cortactin in invadopodia: regulation of protease secretion 
European journal of cell biology  2008;87(8-9):581-590.
Invadopodia are actin-dependent organelles that function in the invasion and remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by tumor cells. Cortactin, a regulator of the Arp2/3 complex, is of particular importance in invadopodia function. While most of the focus has been on the possible role of cortactin in actin assembly for direct formation of actin-rich invadopodia puncta, our recent data suggest that the primary role of cortactin in invadopodia is to promote protease secretion. In this manuscript, we review our previous work and present new data showing that cortactin is essential for both the localization of key invadopodia matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) to actin-positive puncta at the cell-ECM interface and for ECM degradation induced by overexpression of MT1-MMP-GFP. Based on these data and results from the literature, we propose potential mechanisms by which cortactin may link vesicular trafficking and dynamic branched actin assembly to regulate protease secretion for invadopodia-associated ECM degradation.
PMCID: PMC2566933  PMID: 18342393
Cortactin; Invadopodia; Matrix metalloproteinase; Protease; Membrane trafficking; Vesicle
5.  Fission Yeast Sec3 and Exo70 Are Transported on Actin Cables and Localize the Exocyst Complex to Cell Poles 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40248.
The exocyst complex is essential for many exocytic events, by tethering vesicles at the plasma membrane for fusion. In fission yeast, polarized exocytosis for growth relies on the combined action of the exocyst at cell poles and myosin-driven transport along actin cables. We report here the identification of fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe Sec3 protein, which we identified through sequence homology of its PH-like domain. Like other exocyst subunits, sec3 is required for secretion and cell division. Cells deleted for sec3 are only conditionally lethal and can proliferate when osmotically stabilized. Sec3 is redundant with Exo70 for viability and for the localization of other exocyst subunits, suggesting these components act as exocyst tethers at the plasma membrane. Consistently, Sec3 localizes to zones of growth independently of other exocyst subunits but depends on PIP2 and functional Cdc42. FRAP analysis shows that Sec3, like all other exocyst subunits, localizes to cell poles largely independently of the actin cytoskeleton. However, we show that Sec3, Exo70 and Sec5 are transported by the myosin V Myo52 along actin cables. These data suggest that the exocyst holocomplex, including Sec3 and Exo70, is present on exocytic vesicles, which can reach cell poles by either myosin-driven transport or random walk.
PMCID: PMC3386988  PMID: 22768263
6.  The actin bundling protein fascin stabilizes actin in invadopodia and potentiates protrusive invasion 
Current biology : CB  2010;20(4):339-345.
Fascin is an actin bundling protein involved in filopodia assembly and cancer invasion and metastasis of multiple epithelial cancer types. Fascin forms stable actin bundles with slow dissociation kinetics in vitro [1] and is regulated by phosphorylation of serine 39 by protein kinase C (PKC) [2]. Cancer cells use invasive finger-like protrusions termed invadopodia to invade into and degrade extracellular matrix. Invadopodia have highly dynamic actin that is assembled by both Arp2/3 complex and formins [3, 4]; they also contain components of membrane trafficking machinery such as dynamin and cortactin [5] and have been compared with focal adhesions and podosomes [6, 7]. We show that fascin is an integral component of invadopodia and that it is important for the stability of actin in invadopodia. The phosphorylation state of fascin at S39, a PKC site, contributes to its regulation at invadopodia. We further implicate fascin in invasive migration into collagen I-Matrigel gels and particularly in cell types that use an elongated mesenchymal type of motility in 3D. We provide a potential molecular mechanism for how fascin increases the invasiveness of cancer cells and we compare invadopodia with invasive filopod-like structures in 3D.
PMCID: PMC3163294  PMID: 20137952
7.  β1 integrin regulates Arg to promote invadopodial maturation and matrix degradation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(11):1661-1675.
β1 integrin is a major regulator of invadopodium maturation. Studies reveal that β1 integrin–mediated adhesion is a key upstream switch that induces Arg-dependent cortactin phosphorylation, actin polymerization, and MMP recruitment to invadopodia for extracellular matrix degradation.
β1 integrin has been shown to promote metastasis in a number of tumor models, including breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and skin cancer; however, the mechanism by which it does so is poorly understood. Invasive membrane protrusions called invadopodia are believed to facilitate extracellular matrix degradation and intravasation during metastasis. Previous work showed that β1 integrin localizes to invadopodia, but its role in regulating invadopodial function has not been well characterized. We find that β1 integrin is required for the formation of mature, degradation-competent invadopodia in both two- and three-dimensional matrices but is dispensable for invadopodium precursor formation in metastatic human breast cancer cells. β1 integrin is activated during invadopodium precursor maturation, and forced β1 integrin activation enhances the rate of invadopodial matrix proteolysis. Furthermore, β1 integrin interacts with the tyrosine kinase Arg and stimulates Arg-dependent phosphorylation of cortactin on tyrosine 421. Silencing β1 integrin with small interfering RNA completely abrogates Arg-dependent cortactin phosphorylation and cofilin-dependent barbed-end formation at invadopodia, leading to a significant decrease in the number and stability of mature invadopodia. These results describe a fundamental role for β1 integrin in controlling actin polymerization–dependent invadopodial maturation and matrix degradation in metastatic tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3667720  PMID: 23552693
8.  Supervillin Reorganizes the Actin Cytoskeleton and Increases Invadopodial Efficiency 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(3):948-962.
Tumor cells use actin-rich protrusions called invadopodia to degrade extracellular matrix (ECM) and invade tissues; related structures, termed podosomes, are sites of dynamic ECM interaction. We show here that supervillin (SV), a peripheral membrane protein that binds F-actin and myosin II, reorganizes the actin cytoskeleton and potentiates invadopodial function. Overexpressed SV induces redistribution of lamellipodial cortactin and lamellipodin/RAPH1/PREL1 away from the cell periphery to internal sites and concomitantly increases the numbers of F-actin punctae. Most punctae are highly dynamic and colocalize with the podosome/invadopodial proteins, cortactin, Tks5, and cdc42. Cortactin binds SV sequences in vitro and contributes to the formation of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-SV induced punctae. SV localizes to the cores of Src-generated podosomes in COS-7 cells and with invadopodia in MDA-MB-231 cells. EGFP-SV overexpression increases average numbers of ECM holes per cell; RNA interference-mediated knockdown of SV decreases these numbers. Although SV knockdown alone has no effect, simultaneous down-regulation of SV and the closely related protein gelsolin reduces invasion through ECM. Together, our results show that SV is a component of podosomes and invadopodia and that SV plays a role in invadopodial function, perhaps as a mediator of cortactin localization, activation state, and/or dynamics of metalloproteinases at the ventral cell surface.
PMCID: PMC2633381  PMID: 19109420
9.  A novel spatiotemporal RhoC activation pathway locally regulates cofilin activity at invadopodia 
Current biology : CB  2011;21(8):635-644.
RhoGTPases have been implicated in the regulation of cancer metastasis. Invasive carcinoma cells form invadopodia, F-actin-rich matrix degrading protrusions that are thought to be important for tumor cell invasion and intravasation. Regulation of actin dynamics at invadopodial protrusions is crucial to drive invasion. This process requires the severing activity of cofilin to generate actin-free barbed ends. Previous work demonstrates that cofilin’s severing activity is tightly regulated through multiple mechanisms including regulation of cofilin serine phosphorylation by Rho GTPases. However, it is not known which Rho GTPase is involved in regulating cofilin’s phosphorylation status at invadopodia.
We show here, for the first time, how RhoC activation is controlled at invadopodia and how this activation regulates cofilin phosphorylation to control cofilin’s generation of actin-free barbed ends. Live-cell imaging of fluorescent RhoC biosensor reveals that RhoC activity is spatially confined to areas surrounding invadopodia. This spatiotemporal restriction of RhoC activity is controlled by “spatially distinct regulatory elements” that confines RhoC activation within this compartment. p190RhoGEF localizes around invadopodia to activate RhoC, while p190RhoGAP localizes inside invadopodia to deactivate the GTPase within the structure. RhoC activation enhances cofilin phosphorylation outside invadopodia.
These results show how RhoC activity is spatially regulated at invadopodia by p190RhoGEF and p190RhoGAP. RhoC activation in areas surrounding invadopodia restricts cofilin activity to within the invadopodium core resulting in a focused invadopodial protrusion. This mechanism likely enhances tumor cell invasion during metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3081966  PMID: 21474314
Metastasis; Invadopodia; RhoC; p190RhoGEF; p190RhoGAP; Cofilin; Cofilin phosphorylation; tumor invasion
10.  Study on Invadopodia Formation for Lung Carcinoma Invasion with a Microfluidic 3D Culture Device 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56448.
Invadopodia or invasive feet, which are actin-rich membrane protrusions with matrix degradation activity formed by invasive cancer cells, are a key determinant in the malignant invasive progression of tumors and represent an important target for cancer therapies. In this work, we presented a microfluidic 3D culture device with continuous supplement of fresh media via a syringe pump. The device mimicked tumor microenvironment in vivo and could be used to assay invadopodia formation and to study the mechanism of human lung cancer invasion. With this device, we investigated the effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor, GM6001 on invadopodia formation by human non-small cell lung cancer cell line A549 in 3D matrix model. This device was composed of three units that were capable of achieving the assays on one control group and two experimental groups' cells, which were simultaneously pretreated with EGF or GM6001 in parallel. Immunofluorescence analysis of invadopodia formation and extracellular matrix degradation was conducted using confocal imaging system. We observed that EGF promoted invadopodia formation by A549 cells in 3D matrix and that GM6001 inhibited the process. These results demonstrated that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling played a significant role in invadopodia formation and related ECM degradation activity. Meanwhile, it was suggested that MMP inhibitor (GM6001) might be a powerful therapeutic agent targeting invadopodia formation in tumor invasion. This work clearly demonstrated that the microfluidic-based 3D culture device provided an applicable platform for elucidating the mechanism of cancer invasion and could be used in testing other anti-invasion agents.
PMCID: PMC3575410  PMID: 23441195
11.  ERK1/2 Regulate Exocytosis through Direct Phosphorylation of the Exocyst Component Exo70 
Developmental Cell  2012;22(5):967-978.
The exocyst is a multi-protein complex essential for exocytosis and plasma membrane remodeling. The assembly of the exocyst complex mediates the tethering of post-Golgi secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane prior to fusion. Elucidating the mechanisms regulating exocyst assembly is important for the understanding of exocytosis. Here we show that the exocyst component Exo70 is a direct substrate of the Extracellular signal-Regulated Kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2). ERK1/2 phosphorylation enhances the binding of Exo70 to other exocyst components and promotes the assembly the exocyst complex in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) signaling. We further demonstrate that ERK1/2 regulates exocytosis as blocking ERK1/2 signaling by a chemical inhibitor or the expression of an Exo70 mutant defective in ERK1/2 phosphorylation inhibited exocytosis. In tumor cells, blocking Exo70 phosphorylation inhibits matrix metalloproteinase secretion and invadopodia formation. ERK1/2 phosphorylation of Exo70 may thus coordinate exocytosis with other cellular events in response to growth factor signaling.
PMCID: PMC3356571  PMID: 22595671
ERK1/2; exocyst; Exo70; vesicle tethering; exocytosis; EGF; invadopodia
12.  An EGFR-Src-Arg-cortactin pathway mediates functional maturation of invadopodia and breast cancer cell invasion 
Cancer research  2011;71(5):1730-1741.
Invasive carcinoma cells use specialized actin polymerization-driven protrusions called invadopodia to degrade and possibly invade through the extracellular matrix during metastasis. Phosphorylation of the invadopodium protein cortactin is a master switch that activates invadopodium maturation and function. Cortactin was originally identified as a hyperphosphorylated protein in v-Src-transformed cells, but the kinase or kinases which are directly responsible for cortactin phosphorylation in invadopodia remain unknown. In this study, we provide evidence that the Abl-related non-receptor tyrosine kinase Arg mediates EGF-induced cortactin phosphorylation, triggering actin polymerization in invadopodia, extracellular matrix degradation, and matrix proteolysis-dependent tumor cell invasion. Both Src and Arg localize to invadopodia and are required for EGF-induced actin polymerization. Notably, Arg overexpression in Src knockdown cells can partially rescue actin polymerization in invadopodia, while Src overexpression can not compensate for loss of Arg, arguing that Src indirectly regulates invadopodium maturation through Arg activation. Our findings suggest a novel mechanism by which an EGFR-Src-Arg-cortactin pathway mediates functional maturation of invadopodia and breast cancer cell invasion. Further, they identify Arg as a novel mediator of invadopodium function and a candidate therapeutic target to inhibit tumor invasion in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3057139  PMID: 21257711
invadopodia; Arg; Src; phosphorylation; actin polymerization
13.  Cortactin regulates cofilin and N-WASp activities to control the stages of invadopodium assembly and maturation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;186(4):571-587.
Invadopodia are matrix-degrading membrane protrusions in invasive carcinoma cells. The mechanisms regulating invadopodium assembly and maturation are not understood. We have dissected the stages of invadopodium assembly and maturation and show that invadopodia use cortactin phosphorylation as a master switch during these processes. In particular, cortactin phosphorylation was found to regulate cofilin and Arp2/3 complex–dependent actin polymerization. Cortactin directly binds cofilin and inhibits its severing activity. Cortactin phosphorylation is required to release this inhibition so cofilin can sever actin filaments to create barbed ends at invadopodia to support Arp2/3-dependent actin polymerization. After barbed end formation, cortactin is dephosphorylated, which blocks cofilin severing activity thereby stabilizing invadopodia. These findings identify novel mechanisms for actin polymerization in the invadopodia of metastatic carcinoma cells and define four distinct stages of invadopodium assembly and maturation consisting of invadopodium precursor formation, actin polymerization, stabilization, and matrix degradation.
PMCID: PMC2733743  PMID: 19704022
14.  ß1 Integrin Binding Phosphorylates Ezrin at T567 to Activate a Lipid Raft Signalsome Driving Invadopodia Activity and Invasion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75113.
Extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation is a critical process in tumor cell invasion and requires matrix degrading protrusions called invadopodia. The Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE1) has recently been shown to be fundamental in the regulation of invadopodia actin cytoskeleton dynamics and activity. However, the structural link between the invadopodia cytoskeleton and NHE1 is still unknown. A candidate could be ezrin, a linker between the NHE1 and the actin cytoskeleton known to play a pivotal role in invasion and metastasis. However, the mechanistic basis for its role remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that ezrin phosphorylated at T567 is highly overexpressed in the membrane of human breast tumors and positively associated with invasive growth and HER2 overexpression. Further, in the metastatic cell line, MDA-MB-231, p-ezrin was almost exclusively expressed in invadopodia lipid rafts where it co-localized in a functional complex with NHE1, EGFR, ß1-integrin and phosphorylated-NHERF1. Manipulation by mutation of ezrins T567 phosphorylation state and/or PIP2 binding capacity or of NHE1s binding to ezrin or PIP2 demonstrated that p-ezrin expression and binding to PIP2 are required for invadopodia-mediated ECM degradation and invasion and identified NHE1 as the membrane protein that p-ezrin regulates to induce invadopodia formation and activity.
PMCID: PMC3782503  PMID: 24086451
15.  Molecular mechanisms of invadopodium formation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2005;168(3):441-452.
Invadopodia are actin-rich membrane protrusions with a matrix degradation activity formed by invasive cancer cells. We have studied the molecular mechanisms of invadopodium formation in metastatic carcinoma cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor kinase inhibitors blocked invadopodium formation in the presence of serum, and EGF stimulation of serum-starved cells induced invadopodium formation. RNA interference and dominant-negative mutant expression analyses revealed that neural WASP (N-WASP), Arp2/3 complex, and their upstream regulators, Nck1, Cdc42, and WIP, are necessary for invadopodium formation. Time-lapse analysis revealed that invadopodia are formed de novo at the cell periphery and their lifetime varies from minutes to several hours. Invadopodia with short lifetimes are motile, whereas long-lived invadopodia tend to be stationary. Interestingly, suppression of cofilin expression by RNA interference inhibited the formation of long-lived invadopodia, resulting in formation of only short-lived invadopodia with less matrix degradation activity. These results indicate that EGF receptor signaling regulates invadopodium formation through the N-WASP–Arp2/3 pathway and cofilin is necessary for the stabilization and maturation of invadopodia.
PMCID: PMC2171731  PMID: 15684033
16.  Visualization of the exocyst complex dynamics at the plasma membrane of Arabidopsis thaliana 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(4):510-520.
The exocyst complex localizes to distinct foci at the plasma membrane of Arabidopsis thaliana cells. Their localization at the plasma membrane is insensitive to BFA treatment but is decreased in an exocyst-subunit mutant. In turn, exocyst-subunit mutants show decreased exocytosis.
The exocyst complex, an effector of Rho and Rab GTPases, is believed to function as an exocytotic vesicle tether at the plasma membrane before soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex formation. Exocyst subunits localize to secretory-active regions of the plasma membrane, exemplified by the outer domain of Arabidopsis root epidermal cells. Using variable-angle epifluorescence microscopy, we visualized the dynamics of exocyst subunits at this domain. The subunits colocalized in defined foci at the plasma membrane, distinct from endocytic sites. Exocyst foci were independent of cytoskeleton, although prolonged actin disruption led to changes in exocyst localization. Exocyst foci partially overlapped with vesicles visualized by VAMP721 v-SNARE, but the majority of the foci represent sites without vesicles, as indicated by electron microscopy and drug treatments, supporting the concept of the exocyst functioning as a dynamic particle. We observed a decrease of SEC6–green fluorescent protein foci in an exo70A1 exocyst mutant. Finally, we documented decreased VAMP721 trafficking to the plasma membrane in exo70A1 and exo84b mutants. Our data support the concept that the exocyst-complex subunits dynamically dock and undock at the plasma membrane to create sites primed for vesicle tethering.
PMCID: PMC3571873  PMID: 23283982
17.  Nck1 and Grb2 localization patterns can distinguish invadopodia from podosomes 
European journal of cell biology  2010;90(2-3):181-188.
Invadopodia are matrix-degrading ventral cell surface structures formed in invasive carcinoma cells. Podosomes are matrix-degrading structures formed in normal cell types including macrophages, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells that are believed to be related to invadopodia in function. Both invadopodia and podosomes are enriched in proteins that regulate actin polymerization including proteins involved in N-WASp/WASp-dependent Arp2/3-complex activation. However, it is unclear whether invadopodia and podosomes use distinct mediators for N-WASp/WASp-dependent Arp2/3-complex activation. We investigated the localization patterns of the upstream N-WASp/WASp activators Nck1 and Grb2 in invadopodia of metastatic mammary carcinoma cells, podosomes formed in macrophages, and degradative structures formed in Src-transformed fibroblasts and PMA-stimulated endothelial cells. We provide evidence that Nck1 specifically localizes to invadopodia, but not to podosomes formed in macrophages or degradative structures formed in Src-transformed fibroblasts and PMA-stimulated endothelial cells. In contrast, Grb2 specifically localizes to degradative structures formed in Src-transformed fibroblasts and PMA-stimulated endothelial cells, but not invadopodia or podosomes formed in macrophages. These findings suggest that distinct upstream activators are responsible for N-WASp/WASp activation in invadopodia and podosomes, and that all these ventral cell surface degradative structures have distinguishing molecular as well as structural characteristics. These patterns of Nck1 and Grb2 localization, identified in our study, can be used to sub classify ventral cell surface degradative structures.
PMCID: PMC3017226  PMID: 20850195
cancer invasion; invadopodia; podosomes; Src-transformed fibroblasts; Nck1; Grb2; N-WASp
18.  Met receptor tyrosine kinase signals through a cortactin–Gab1 scaffold complex, to mediate invadopodia 
Journal of Cell Science  2012;125(12):2940-2953.
Invasive carcinoma cells form actin-rich matrix-degrading protrusions called invadopodia. These structures resemble podosomes produced by some normal cells and play a crucial role in extracellular matrix remodeling. In cancer, formation of invadopodia is strongly associated with invasive potential. Although deregulated signals from the receptor tyrosine kinase Met (also known as hepatocyte growth factor are linked to cancer metastasis and poor prognosis, its role in invadopodia formation is not known. Here we show that stimulation of breast cancer cells with the ligand for Met, hepatocyte growth factor, promotes invadopodia formation, and in aggressive gastric tumor cells where Met is amplified, invadopodia formation is dependent on Met activity. Using both GRB2-associated-binding protein 1 (Gab1)-null fibroblasts and specific knockdown of Gab1 in tumor cells we show that Met-mediated invadopodia formation and cell invasion requires the scaffold protein Gab1. By a structure–function approach, we demonstrate that two proline-rich motifs (P4/5) within Gab1 are essential for invadopodia formation. We identify the actin regulatory protein, cortactin, as a direct interaction partner for Gab1 and show that a Gab1–cortactin interaction is dependent on the SH3 domain of cortactin and the integrity of the P4/5 region of Gab1. Both cortactin and Gab1 localize to invadopodia rosettes in Met-transformed cells and the specific uncoupling of cortactin from Gab1 abrogates invadopodia biogenesis and cell invasion downstream from the Met receptor tyrosine kinase. Met localizes to invadopodia along with cortactin and promotes phosphorylation of cortactin. These findings provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of invadopodia formation and identify Gab1 as a scaffold protein involved in this process.
PMCID: PMC3434810  PMID: 22366451
Invadopodia; Met RTK; Gab1; Cortactin; Matrix remodeling; Cell invasion
19.  Vesicles carry most exocyst subunits to exocytic sites marked by the remaining two subunits, Sec3p and Exo70p 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;167(5):889-901.
Exocytosis in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae occurs at discrete domains of the plasma membrane. The protein complex that tethers incoming vesicles to sites of secretion is known as the exocyst. We have used photobleaching recovery experiments to characterize the dynamic behavior of the eight subunits that make up the exocyst. One subset (Sec5p, Sec6p, Sec8p, Sec10p, Sec15p, and Exo84p) exhibits mobility similar to that of the vesicle-bound Rab family protein Sec4p, whereas Sec3p and Exo70p exhibit substantially more stability. Disruption of actin assembly abolishes the ability of the first subset of subunits to recover after photobleaching, whereas Sec3p and Exo70p are resistant. Immunogold electron microscopy and epifluorescence video microscopy indicate that all exocyst subunits, except for Sec3p, are associated with secretory vesicles as they arrive at exocytic sites. Assembly of the exocyst occurs when the first subset of subunits, delivered on vesicles, joins Sec3p and Exo70p on the plasma membrane. Exocyst assembly serves to both target and tether vesicles to sites of exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC2172445  PMID: 15583031
20.  Twist1-induced invadopodia formation promotes tumor metastasis 
Cancer cell  2011;19(3):372-386.
The Twist1 transcription factor is known to promote tumor metastasis and induce Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT). Here, we report that Twist1 is capable of promoting the formation of invadopodia, specialized membrane protrusions for extracellular matrix degradation. Twist1 induces PDGFRα expression, which in turn activates Src, to promote invadopodia formation. We show that Twist1 and PDGFRα are central mediators of invadopodia formation in response to various EMT-inducing signals. Induction of PDGFRα and invadopodia is essential for Twist1 to promote tumor metastasis. Consistent with PDGFRα being a direct transcriptional target of Twist1, coexpression of Twist1 and PDGFRα predicts poor survival in breast tumor patients. Therefore, invadopodia-mediated matrix degradation is a key function of Twist1 in promoting tumor metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3072410  PMID: 21397860
21.  Cyclical Regulation of the Exocyst and Cell Polarity Determinants for Polarized Cell Growth 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(3):1500-1512.
Polarized exocytosis is important for morphogenesis and cell growth. The exocyst is a multiprotein complex implicated in tethering secretory vesicles at specific sites of the plasma membrane for exocytosis. In the budding yeast, the exocyst is localized to sites of bud emergence or the tips of small daughter cells, where it mediates secretion and cell surface expansion. To understand how exocytosis is spatially controlled, we systematically analyzed the localization of Sec15p, a member of the exocyst complex and downstream effector of the rab protein Sec4p, in various mutants. We found that the polarized localization of Sec15p relies on functional upstream membrane traffic, activated rab protein Sec4p, and its guanine exchange factor Sec2p. The initial targeting of both Sec4p and Sec15p to the bud tip depends on polarized actin cable. However, different recycling mechanisms for rab and Sec15p may account for the different kinetics of polarization for these two proteins. We also found that Sec3p and Sec15p, though both members of the exocyst complex, rely on distinctive targeting mechanisms for their localization. The assembly of the exocyst may integrate various cellular signals to ensure that exocytosis is tightly controlled. Key regulators of cell polarity such as Cdc42p are important for the recruitment of the exocyst to the budding site. Conversely, we found that the proper localization of these cell polarity regulators themselves also requires a functional exocytosis pathway. We further report that Bem1p, a protein essential for the recruitment of signaling molecules for the establishment of cell polarity, interacts with the exocyst complex. We propose that a cyclical regulatory network contributes to the establishment and maintenance of polarized cell growth in yeast.
PMCID: PMC551511  PMID: 15647373
22.  Hypoxia-Induced Invadopodia Formation Involves Activation of NHE-1 by the p90 Ribosomal S6 Kinase (p90RSK) 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28851.
The hypoxic and acidic microenvironments in tumors are strongly associated with malignant progression and metastasis, and have thus become a central issue in tumor physiology and cancer treatment. Despite this, the molecular links between acidic pH- and hypoxia-mediated cell invasion/metastasis remain mostly unresolved. One of the mechanisms that tumor cells use for tissue invasion is the generation of invadopodia, which are actin-rich invasive plasma membrane protrusions that degrade the extracellular matrix. Here, we show that hypoxia stimulates the formation of invadopodia as well as the invasive ability of cancer cells. Inhibition or shRNA-based depletion of the Na+/H+ exchanger NHE-1, along with intracellular pH monitoring by live-cell imaging, revealed that invadopodia formation is associated with alterations in cellular pH homeostasis, an event that involves activation of the Na+/H+ exchange rate by NHE-1. Further characterization indicates that hypoxia triggered the activation of the p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (p90 RSK), which resulted in invadopodia formation and site-specific phosphorylation and activation of NHE-1. This study reveals an unsuspected role of p90RSK in tumor cell invasion and establishes p90RS kinase as a link between hypoxia and the acidic microenvironment of tumors.
PMCID: PMC3246449  PMID: 22216126
23.  The Microtubule-associated Rho Activating Factor GEF-H1 interacts with Exocyst complex to regulate Vesicle Traffic 
Developmental cell  2012;23(2):397-411.
The exocyst complex plays a critical role in targeting and tethering vesicles to specific sites of the plasma membrane. These events are crucial for polarized delivery of membrane components to the cell surface, which is critical for cell motility and division. Though Rho GTPases are involved in regulating actin dynamics and membrane trafficking, their role in exocyst-mediated vesicle targeting is not very clear. Herein, we present evidence that depletion of GEF-H1, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rho proteins, affects vesicle trafficking. Interestingly, we found that GEF-H1 directly binds to exocyst component Sec5 in a Ral GTPase-dependent manner. This interaction promotes RhoA activation, which then regulates exocyst assembly/localization and exocytosis. Taken together, our work defines a mechanism for RhoA activation in response to RalA-Sec5 signaling and involvement of GEF-H1/RhoA pathway in the regulation of vesicle trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3422510  PMID: 22898781
24.  Actin, microtubules, and vimentin intermediate filaments cooperate for elongation of invadopodia 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;189(3):541-556.
Microtubules and intermediate filaments cooperate with actin and other components of filopodia during invadopodia maturation.
Invasive cancer cells are believed to breach the basement membrane (BM) using specialized protrusions called invadopodia. We found that the crossing of a native BM is a three-stage process: invadopodia indeed form and perforate the BM, elongate into mature invadopodia, and then guide the cell toward the stromal compartment. We studied the remodeling of cytoskeleton networks during invadopodia formation and elongation using ultrastructural analysis, spatial distribution of molecular markers, and RNA interference silencing of protein expression. We show that formation of invadopodia requires only the actin cytoskeleton and filopodia- and lamellipodia-associated proteins. In contrast, elongation of invadopodia is mostly dependent on filopodial actin machinery. Moreover, intact microtubules and vimentin intermediate filament networks are required for further growth. We propose that invadopodia form by assembly of dendritic/diagonal and bundled actin networks and then mature by elongation of actin bundles, followed by the entry of microtubules and vimentin filaments. These findings provide a link between the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and BM transmigration.
PMCID: PMC2867303  PMID: 20421424
25.  Exo70 Stimulates the Arp2/3 Complex-mediated Actin Branching for Lamellipodia Formation and Cell Migration 
Current biology : CB  2012;22(16):1510-1515.
Directional cell migration requires the coordination of actin assembly and membrane remodeling. The exocyst is an octameric protein complex essential for exocytosis and plasma membrane remodeling [1,2]. A component of the exocyst, Exo70, directly interacts with the Arp2/3 complex, a core nucleating factor for the generation of branched actin networks for cell morphogenesis and migration [3-9]. Using in vitro actin polymerization assay and time-lapse TIRF microscopy, we found Exo70 functions as a kinetic activator of the Arp2/3 complex that promotes actin filament nucleation and branching. We further found that the effect of Exo70 on actin is mediated by promoting the interaction of Arp2/3 complex with WAVE2, a member of the N-WASP/WAVE family of nucleation promoting factors (NPFs). At the cellular level, the stimulatory effect of Exo70 on Arp2/3 is required for lamellipodia formation and maintaining directional persistence of cell migration. Our findings provide a novel mechanism for regulating actin polymerization and branching for effective membrane protrusion during cell morphogenesis and migration.
PMCID: PMC3427469  PMID: 22748316

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