Recurrence of carcinomas due to cells that migrate away from the primary tumor is a major problem in cancer treatment. Immunohistochemical analyses of human carcinomas have consistently correlated up-regulation of the actin-bundling protein fascin with a clinically aggressive phenotype and poor prognosis. To understand the functional and mechanistic contributions of fascin, we undertook inducible short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of fascin in human colon carcinoma cells derived from an aggressive primary tumor. Fascin-depletion led to decreased numbers of filopodia and altered morphology of cell protrusions, decreased Rac-dependent migration on laminin, decreased turnover of focal adhesions, and, in vivo, decreased xenograft tumor development and metastasis. cDNA rescue of fascin shRNA-knockdown cells with wild-type green fluorescent protein-fascin or fascins mutated at the protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation site revealed that both the actin-bundling and active PKC-binding activities of fascin are required for the organization of filopodial protrusions, Rac-dependent migration, and tumor metastasis. Thus, fascin contributes to carcinoma migration and metastasis through dual pathways that impact on multiple subcellular structures needed for cell migration.
Fascin-1 is an actin-bundling protein expressed in many human carcinomas, although absent from most normal epithelia. Fascin-1 promotes filopodia formation, migration and invasion in carcinoma cells; in mouse xenograft tumor models it contributes to metastasis. Fascin-1 is an interesting candidate biomarker for aggressive, metastatic carcinomas but data from individual studies of human tumors have not yet been pooled systematically.
This systematic review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines, using fixed and random effects models, as appropriate, to undertake meta-analysis.
A total of 26 immunohistochemical studies of 5 prevalent human carcinomas were identified for meta-analysis. Fascin-1 was associated with increased risk of mortality for breast (pooled hazard ratio, (HR) = 2.58; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.48 to 4.52; P = 0.001), colorectal (HR = 1.60 (1.37 to 1.86; P <0.001) and esophageal carcinomas (HR = 1.35; CI 1.13 to 1.60; P = 0.001). There was no evidence of association of fascin-1 with mortality in gastric and lung carcinomas. Fascin-1 was associated with increased risk of disease progression in breast (HR = 2.48; CI 1.38 to 4.46; P = 0.002) and colorectal carcinomas (HR = 2.12; CI 1.00 to 4.47; P = 0.05), but not with progression of lung carcinomas (HR = 0.95; CI 0.49 to 1.85; P = 0.9). Fascin-1 was associated with increased risk of lymph node metastasis in colorectal (pooled risk ratio (RR) = 1.47; CI 1.26 to 1.71; P <0.001) and gastric carcinomas (RR = 1.43; CI 1.21 to 1.70; P <0.001). There was no evidence of association of fascin-1 with lymph node metastasis in lung or esophageal carcinomas. Fascin-1 was associated with increased risk of distant metastasis in colorectal (RR = 1.70; CI 1.18 to 2.45; P = 0.004) and gastric carcinomas (RR = 1.93; CI 1.21 to 3.33; P = 0.02). No association with distant metastasis in esophageal carcinomas was observed. Pooling across all the carcinomas provided strong evidence for association of fascin-1 with increased risk of mortality (HR = 1.44; CI 1.24 to 1.68; P <0.001; n = 3,645), lymph node metastasis (RR = 1.36; CI 1.18 to 1.55; P <0.001; n = 2,906) and distant metastasis (1.76; 1.34 to 2.32; P <0.001; n = 1,514).
Fascin-1 is associated consistently with increased risk of mortality in breast, colorectal and esophageal carcinomas and with metastasis in colorectal and gastric carcinomas. The results were stable to various sensitivity analyses and did not vary by predefined subgroups. These data will assist rational decision making for focusing investigations of fascin-1 as a biomarker or therapeutic target onto the most relevant carcinomas.
Fascin-1; carcinoma; mortality; metastasis; meta-analysis
Fascin is an evolutionarily conserved actin bundling protein that localizes to microspikes, filopodia and actin-based protrusions underneath the plasma membrane. fascin has received a lot of attention among cytoskeletal proteins because multiple clinical studies have implicated its expression in cancer progression and metastasis. this may be because fascin is not normally expressed in epithelial tissues and when it is upregulated as a part of a program of cancer cell epithelial to mesenchymal progression it confers special motility and invasion properties on cancer cells. in normal adult tissues, fascin expression is high in neurons and dendritic cells; both cell types have striking large filopodia and are highly motile. it is not clear how fascin promotes invasive motility in cancer cells, but many studies have implicated filopodia formation in motility and we have recently provided new evidence that fascin stabilizes actin bundles in invasive foot structures termed invadopodia in cancer cells Figure 1.1 Here we review some of the evidence implicating fascin in motility, invasion and cancer aggressiveness, and we speculate that by stabilizing actin, fascin provides cells with powerful invasive properties that may confer increased metastatic potential.
metastasis; migration; filopodia; motility; cancer; fascin; microspikes; invasion; invadopodia; podosomes
Fascin is an actin-bundling protein that is absent from most normal epithelia yet is upregulated in multiple forms of human carcinoma, where its expression correlates clinically with a poor prognosis. How fascin-1 transcription is activated in carcinoma cells is largely unknown, although the hypothesis of regulation by β-catenin signaling has received attention. The question is important because of the clinical significance of fascin expression in human carcinomas.
Through comparative genomics we made an unbiased analysis of the DNA sequence of the fascin-1 promoter region from six mammalian species. We identified two regions in which highly conserved motifs are concentrated. Luciferase promoter reporter assays for the human fascin-1 promoter were carried out in fascin-positive and -negative human breast and colon carcinoma cells, and in human dermal fibroblasts that are constitutively fascin-positive. In all fascin-positive cells, the region −219/+114 that contains multiple highly conserved motifs had strong transcriptional activity. The region −2953/−1582 appeared to contain repressor activity. By examining the effects of single or multiple point mutations of conserved motifs within the −219/+114 region on transcriptional reporter activity, we identified for the first time that the conserved CREB and AhR binding motifs are major determinants of transcriptional activity in human colon carcinoma cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitations for CREB, AhR or β-catenin from extracts from fascin-positive or -negative human colon carcinoma cells identified that CREB and AhR specifically associate with the −219/+114 region of the FSCN1 promoter in fascin-positive colon carcinoma cells. An association of β-catenin was not specific to fascin-positive cells.
Upregulation of fascin-1 in aggressive human carcinomas appears to have a multi-factorial basis. The data identify novel roles for CREB and AhR as major, specific regulators of FSCN-1 transcription in human carcinoma cells but do not support the hypothesis that β-catenin signaling has a central role.
Fascin is a globular actin cross-linking protein, which plays a major role in forming parallel actin bundles in cell protrusions and is found to be associated with tumor cell invasion and metastasis in various type of cancers including oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Previously, we have demonstrated that fascin regulates actin polymerization and thereby promotes cell motility in K8-depleted OSCC cells. In the present study we have investigated the role of fascin in tumor progression of OSCC.
To understand the role of fascin in OSCC development and/or progression, fascin was overexpressed along with vector control in OSCC derived cells AW13516. The phenotype was studied using wound healing, Boyden chamber, cell adhesion, Hanging drop, soft agar and tumorigenicity assays. Further, fascin expression was examined in human OSCC samples (N = 131) using immunohistochemistry and level of its expression was correlated with clinico-pathological parameters of the patients.
Fascin overexpression in OSCC derived cells led to significant increase in cell migration, cell invasion and MMP-2 activity. In addition these cells demonstrated increased levels of phosphorylated AKT, ERK1/2 and JNK1/2. Our in vitro results were consistent with correlative studies of fascin expression with the clinico-pathological parameters of the OSCC patients. Fascin expression in OSCC showed statistically significant correlation with increased tumor stage (P = 0.041), increased lymph node metastasis (P = 0.001), less differentiation (P = 0.005), increased recurrence (P = 0.038) and shorter survival (P = 0.004) of the patients.
In conclusion, our results indicate that fascin promotes tumor progression and activates AKT and MAPK pathways in OSCC-derived cells. Further, our correlative studies of fascin expression in OSCC with clinico-pathological parameters of the patients indicate that fascin may prove to be useful in prognostication and treatment of OSCC.
Fascin; Cell migration; Invasion; Metastasis; OSCC
Fascin is an actin bundling protein with roles in the formation of cell protrusions and motility of mesenchymal and neuronal cells. Fascin is normally low or absent from epithelia, but is upregulated in several epithelial neoplasms where it may contribute to an invasive phenotype. Here, we report on the prevalence and potential clinical significance of fascin expression in relation to the progression of colorectal adenocarcinoma and to tumor cell proliferation as measured by Ki67 index.
Conventional tissue sections of 107 colorectal adenomas and 35 adenocarcinomas were analyzed by immunohistochemistry for fascin and Ki67 expression.
Fascin expression and Ki67 proliferation index were also investigated by use of a tissue microarray containing cores from a further 158 colorectal adenocarcinomas and 15 adenomas linked to a CCF, IRB-approved database with a mean of 38 months of clinical follow-up. Survival analysis was carried out by the Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methods.
Fascin was not expressed by the normal colonic epithelium. In conventional sections, 16% of adenomas and 26% of adenocarcinomas showed fascin expression in greater than 10% of the tumor cells. In the clinically-annotated tumors, fascin immunoreactivity was more common in tumors located in the proximal colon (p = 0.009), but was not associated with age, gender, or TNM stage. Patients with stage III/IV adenocarcinomas (n = 62) with strong fascin immunoreactivity had a worse prognosis than patients with low or absent fascin, (3-year overall survival of 11% versus 43% for fascin-negative patients; p = 0.023). In adenomas, fascin and Ki67 tended to be inversely correlated at the cellular level; this trend was less apparent in adenocarcinomas.
Fascin is upregulated in a proportion of adenomas, where its expression is often focal. Strong and diffuse expression was seen in a subset of advanced colorectal adenocarcinomas that correlated with shorter survival in stage III and IV patients. Fascin may have prognostic value as an early biomarker for more aggressive colorectal adenocarcinomas.
Malignant glioma is the most common primary brain tumor, and its ability to invade the surrounding brain parenchyma is a leading cause of tumor recurrence and treatment failure. Whereas the molecular mechanisms of glioma invasion are incompletely understood, there is growing evidence that cytoskeletal-matrix interactions contribute to this process. Fascin, an actin-bundling protein, induces parallel actin bundles in cell protrusions and increases cell motility in multiple human malignancies. The role of fascin in glioma invasion remains unclear. We demonstrate that fascin is expressed in a panel of human malignant glioma cell lines, and downregulation of fascin expression in glioma cell lines by small interfering RNA (siRNA) is associated with decreased cellular attachment to extracellular matrix (ECM) and reduced migration. Using immunofluorescence analysis, we show that fascin depletion results in a reduced number of filopodia as well as altered glioma cell shape. In vitro invasiveness of U251, U87, and SNB19 glioma cells was inhibited by fascin siRNA treatment by 52.2%, 40.3%, and 23.8% respectively. Finally, we show a decreased invasiveness of U251-GFP cells by fascin knockdown in an ex vivo rat brain slice model system. This is the first study to demonstrate a role for fascin in glioma cell morphology, motility, and invasiveness.
In this study, the mechanisms of actin-bundling in filopodia were examined. Analysis of cellular localization of known actin cross-linking proteins in mouse melanoma B16F1 cells revealed that fascin was specifically localized along the entire length of all filopodia, whereas other actin cross-linkers were not. RNA interference of fascin reduced the number of filopodia, and remaining filopodia had abnormal morphology with wavy and loosely bundled actin organization. Dephosphorylation of serine 39 likely determined cellular filopodia frequency. The constitutively active fascin mutant S39A increased the number and length of filopodia, whereas the inactive fascin mutant S39E reduced filopodia frequency. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching of GFP-tagged wild-type and S39A fascin showed that dephosphorylated fascin underwent rapid cycles of association to and dissociation from actin filaments in filopodia, with t1/2 < 10 s. We propose that fascin is a key specific actin cross-linker, providing stiffness for filopodial bundles, and that its dynamic behavior allows for efficient coordination between elongation and bundling of filopodial actin filaments.
Fascin is an actin-bundling protein that is found in membrane ruffles, microspikes, and stress fibers. The expression of fascin is greatly increased in many transformed cells, as well as in specialized normal cells including neuronal cells and antigen-presenting dendritic cells. A morphological characteristic common to these cells expressing high levels of fascin is the development of many membrane protrusions in which fascin is predominantly present. To examine whether fascin contributes to the alterations in microfilament organization at the cell periphery, we have expressed fascin in LLC-PK1 epithelial cells to levels as high as those found in transformed cells and in specialized normal cells. Expression of fascin results in large changes in morphology, the actin cytoskeleton, and cell motility: fascin-transfected cells form an increased number of longer and thicker microvilli on apical surfaces, extend lamellipodia-like structures at basolateral surfaces, and show disorganization of cell–cell contacts. Cell migration activity is increased by 8–17 times when assayed by modified Boyden chamber. Microinjection of a fascin protein into LLC-PK1 cells causes similar morphological alterations including the induction of lamellipodia at basolateral surfaces and formation of an increased number of microvilli on apical surfaces. Furthermore, microinjection of fascin into REF-52 cells, normal fibroblasts, induces the formation of many lamellipodia at all regions of cell periphery. These results together suggest that fascin is directly responsible for membrane protrusions through reorganization of the microfilament cytoskeleton at the cell periphery.
Cell adhesion to extracellular matrix is an important physiological stimulus for organization of the actin-based cytoskeleton. Adhesion to the matrix glycoprotein thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) triggers the sustained formation of F-actin microspikes that contain the actin-bundling protein fascin. These structures are also implicated in cell migration, which may be an important function of TSP-1 in tissue remodelling and wound repair. To further understand the function of fascin microspikes, we examined whether their assembly is regulated by Rho family GTPases. We report that expression of constitutively active mutants of Rac or Cdc42 triggered localization of fascin to lamellipodia, filopodia, and cell edges in fibroblasts or myoblasts. Biochemical assays demonstrated prolonged activation of Rac and Cdc42 in C2C12 cells adherent to TSP-1 and activation of the downstream kinase p21-activated kinase (PAK). Expression of dominant-negative Rac or Cdc42 in C2C12 myoblasts blocked spreading and formation of fascin spikes on TSP-1. Spreading and spike assembly were also blocked by pharmacological inhibition of F-actin turnover. Shear-loading of monospecific anti-fascin immunoglobulins, which block the binding of fascin to actin into cytoplasm, strongly inhibited spreading, actin cytoskeletal organization and migration on TSP-1 and also affected the motility of cells on fibronectin. We conclude that fascin is a critical component downstream of Rac and Cdc42 that is needed for actin cytoskeletal organization and cell migration responses to thrombospondin-1.
cell adhesion; cell motility; cytoskeleton; fascin; small G proteins
Sinonasal inverted papilloma (IP) is a primary benign lesion with a tendency for local recurrence. Malignant transformation may develop in up to 15% of cases. Fascin (Fascin 1) is an actin cross-link binding protein required for the formation of actin-based cell-surface protrusions and cell motility. Fascin up-regulation in lung, gastric, breast and hepatobiliary carcinomas correlates with aggressiveness and decreased survival. Here we evaluate immunohistochemical expression of fascin in 47 sinonasal IPs from 34 patients. Fascin over-expression is significantly more common in sinonasal IP with high-grade dysplasia than in those with no dysplastic or low-grade dysplastic epithelium (P = 0.0001). No significant change in fascin expression is seen with recurrence. Over expression of fascin in high-grade dysplastic epithelium in IP may be associated with tumor progression and malignant transformation.
Fascin; Sinonasal inverted papilloma; Dysplasia; Malignant transformation; Immunohistochemistry
Stereocilia are actin-filled protrusions that permit mechanotransduction in the
internal ear. To identify proteins that organize the cytoskeleton of
stereocilia, we scrutinized the hair-cell transcriptome of zebrafish. One
promising candidate encodes fascin 2b, a filamentous actin-bundling protein
found in retinal photoreceptors. Immunolabeling of zebrafish hair cells and the
use of transgenic zebrafish that expressed fascin 2b fused to green fluorescent
protein demonstrated that fascin 2b localized to stereocilia specifically. When
filamentous actin and recombinant fusion protein containing fascin 2b were
combined in vitro to determine their dissociation constant, a
Kd≈0.37 µM was observed. Electron
microscopy showed that fascin 2b-actin filament complexes formed parallel actin
bundles in vitro. We demonstrated that expression of fascin 2b
or espin, another actin-bundling protein, in COS-7 cells induced the formation
of long filopodia. Coexpression showed synergism between these proteins through
the formation of extra-long protrusions. Using phosphomutant fascin 2b proteins,
which mimicked either a phosphorylated or a nonphosphorylated state, in COS-7
cells and in transgenic hair cells, we showed that both formation of long
filopodia and localization of fascin 2b to stereocilia were dependent on serine
38. Overexpression of wild-type fascin 2b in hair cells was correlated with
increased stereociliary length relative to controls. These findings indicate
that fascin 2b plays a key role in shaping stereocilia.
Fascin1, an actin-bundling protein, has been demonstrated to be critical for filopodia formation in cultured cells, and thus is believed to be vital in motile activities including neurite extension and cell migration. To test whether fascin1 plays such essential roles within a whole animal, we have generated and characterized fascin1-deficient mice. Unexpectedly, fascin1-deficient mice are viable and fertile with no major developmental defect. Nissl staining of serial coronal brain sections reveals that fascin1-deficient brain is grossly normal except that knockout mouse brain lacks the posterior region of the anterior commissure neuron and has larger lateral ventricle. Fascin1-deficient, dorsal root ganglion neurons are able to extend neurites in vitro as well as those from wild-type mice, although fascin1-deficient growth cones are smaller and exhibit fewer and shorter filopodia than wild-type counterparts. Likewise, fascin1-deficient, embryonic fibroblasts are able to assemble filopodia, though filopodia are fewer, shorter and short-lived. These results indicate that fascin1-mediated filopodia assembly is dispensable for mouse development.
fascin1; knockout mice; filopodia assembly; dorsal root ganglion neuron; mouse development
The majority of thymomas are histologically characterized by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Mature dendritic cells (DCs) are known to assemble lymphocytes through antigen presentation to T lymphocytes. Fascin, a 55-kDa actin-binding protein and a known marker for mature DCs, regulates filaments necessary for the formation of filopodia in cell migration. Moreover, fascin expression in various epithelial neoplasms has recently been reported to be associated with invasion of tumor cells and clinically aggressive manifestations. In the present study, we investigated fascin expression immunohistochemically in tissues of thymomas and thymic carcinomas surgically resected at our institute. A total of 34 thymomas and 5 thymic carcinomas were included. The amount and immunohistochemical intensity of both fascin+ DCs and tumor epithelium were counted and assessed, and the clinicopathological data were also scored. Statistical analyses revealed that the amount of fascin+ DCs with the formation of clusters was associated with lymphocyte-rich variants (p=0.002) and cortical differentiation (p=0.037) of thymoma with complication from myasthenia gravis (p=0.002). The quantity of fascin+ epithelium was associated with a strong intensity of fascin in infiltrating DCs (p=0.002) with the formation of clusters (p=0.002) and favorable prognosis, as assessed by the Masaoka staging system (p=0.001). The amount of infiltrating DCs (p=0.024) and fascin+ epithelium were lower in thymic carcinoma. It was concluded that fascin+ epithelium may induce tumor immunity through the surveillance activity of fascin+ DCs in thymic neoplasms, thus improving prognosis.
thymoma; immunohistochemistry; fascin; dendritic cell; tumor immunity
Recent studies showed that the actin cross-linking protein, fascin, undergoes rapid cycling between filopodial filaments. Here, we used an experimental and computational approach to dissect features of fascin exchange and incorporation in filopodia. Using expression of phosphomimetic fascin mutants, we determined that fascin in the phosphorylated state is primarily freely diffusing, whereas actin bundling in filopodia is accomplished by fascin dephosphorylated at serine 39. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis revealed that fascin rapidly dissociates from filopodial filaments with a kinetic off-rate of 0.12 s−1 and that it undergoes diffusion at moderate rates with a coefficient of 6 μm2s−1. This kinetic off-rate was recapitulated in vitro, indicating that dynamic behavior is intrinsic to the fascin cross-linker. A computational reaction–diffusion model showed that reversible cross-linking is required for the delivery of fascin to growing filopodial tips at sufficient rates. Analysis of fascin bundling indicated that filopodia are semiordered bundles with one bound fascin per 25–60 actin monomers.
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  and is regulated by phosphorylation of serine 39 by protein kinase C (PKC) . 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  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.
Fascin, an actin‐binding protein, is usually expressed at a low level in normal epithelium, but is markedly up regulated in several types of carcinomas. Reports on fascin expression in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and precancerous lesions remain rare.
To show the roles of fascin in the progression from normal epithelium to invasive ESCC.
Fascin expression in 102 sections embedded in paraffin wax, including samples of normal mucosa (n = 20), dysplasia (n = 10), ESCC (n = 62) and special sections (n = 10) of a full‐length mucosa layer from the distant margin to the cancer focus of the excised oesophagus, and 49 fresh specimens of ESCC was analysed by immunohistochemistry, western blot and real‐time reverse transcription‐polymerase chain reaction. Fascin expression in ESCC cell lines was also investigated.
In the immunohistochemical study, the positive rate of fascin was significantly higher in the tumour tissue than in the normal epithelium (p = 0.020), but no significant difference was shown between ESCC and dysplasia (p = 1.000). Immunostaining for fascin was only apparent in the basal layer of the normal epithelium. However, in the dysplasia, positive staining was observed in most of the heterogeneous cells from the basal layer to the granular layer of the epithelium. Fascin expression was seen to increase progressively from the normal epithelium to invasive ESCC. Up regulation of fascin was observed in 87.76% (43/49) and 77.55% (38/49) of the specimens, respectively, using western blot and real‐time reverse transcription‐polymerase chain reaction assays; 80% (4/5) of ESCC cell lines also expressed fascin at a high level. Furthermore, overexpression of fascin was markedly correlated with cell proliferation and lymph node metastasis.
These findings suggested that fascin was associated with the transformation and development of ESCC and implicated the potential of fascin as a novel biomarker that would allow the tumour to be identified at an early stage in high‐risk individuals.
During cellular migration, regulated actin assembly takes place at the cell leading edge, with continuous disassembly deeper in the cell interior. Actin polymerization at the plasma membrane results in the extension of cellular protrusions in the form of lamellipodia and filopodia. To understand how cells regulate the transformation of lamellipodia into filopodia, and to determine the major factors that control their transition, we studied actin self-assembly in the presence of Arp2/3 complex, WASp-VCA and fascin, the major proteins participating in the assembly of lamellipodia and filopodia. We show that in the early stages of actin polymerization fascin is passive while Arp2/3 mediates the formation of dense and highly branched aster-like networks of actin. Once filaments in the periphery of an aster get long enough, fascin becomes active, linking the filaments into bundles which emanate radially from the aster's surface, resulting in the formation of star-like structures. We show that the number of bundles nucleated per star, as well as their thickness and length, is controlled by the initial concentration of Arp2/3 complex ([Arp2/3]). Specifically, we tested several values of [Arp2/3] and found that for given initial concentrations of actin and fascin, the number of bundles per star, as well as their length and thickness are larger when [Arp2/3] is lower. Our experimental findings can be interpreted and explained using a theoretical scheme which combines Kinetic Monte Carlo simulations for aster growth, with a simple mechanistic model for bundles' formation and growth. According to this model, bundles emerge from the aster's (sparsely branched) surface layer. Bundles begin to form when the bending energy associated with bringing two filaments into contact is compensated by the energetic gain resulting from their fascin linking energy. As time evolves the initially thin and short bundles elongate, thus reducing their bending energy and allowing them to further associate and create thicker bundles, until all actin monomers are consumed. This process is essentially irreversible on the time scale of actin polymerization. Two structural parameters, L, which is proportional to the length of filament tips at the aster periphery and b, the spacing between their origins, dictate the onset of bundling; both depending on [Arp2/3]. Cells may use a similar mechanism to regulate filopodia formation along the cell leading edge. Such a mechanism may allow cells to have control over the localization of filopodia by recruiting specific proteins that regulate filaments length (e.g., Dia2) to specific sites along lamellipodia.
The rapid turnover of actin filaments and the tertiary meshwork formation are regulated by a variety of actin-binding proteins. Protein phosphorylation of cofilin, an actin-binding protein that depolymerizes actin filaments, suppresses its function. Thus, cofilin is a terminal effector of signaling cascades that evokes actin cytoskeletal rearrangement. When wild-type LIMK2 and kinase-dead LIMK2 (LIMK2/KD) were respectively expressed in cells, LIMK2, but not LIMK2/KD, phosphorylated cofilin and induced formation of stress fibers and focal complexes. LIMK2 activity toward cofilin phosphorylation was stimulated by coexpression of activated Rho and Cdc42, but not Rac. Importantly, expression of activated Rho and Cdc42, respectively, induced stress fibers and filopodia, whereas both Rho- induced stress fibers and Cdc42-induced filopodia were abrogated by the coexpression of LIMK2/KD. In contrast, the coexpression of LIMK2/KD with the activated Rac did not affect Rac-induced lamellipodia formation. These results indicate that LIMK2 plays a crucial role both in Rho- and Cdc42-induced actin cytoskeletal reorganization, at least in part by inhibiting the functions of cofilin. Together with recent findings that LIMK1 participates in Rac-induced lamellipodia formation, LIMK1 and LIMK2 function under control of distinct Rho subfamily GTPases and are essential regulators in the Rho subfamilies-induced actin cytoskeletal reorganization.
cytoskeleton; actin depolymerization; LIM-kinase; Rho family GTPases; stress fibers
Rho GTPases are versatile regulators of cell shape that act on the actin cytoskeleton. Studies using Rho GTPase mutants have shown that, in some cells, Rac1 and Cdc42 regulate the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia, respectively at the leading edge, whereas RhoA mediates contraction at the rear of moving cells. However, recent reports have described a zone of RhoA/ROCK activation at the front of cells undergoing motility. In this study, we use a FRET-based RhoA biosensor to show that RhoA activation localizes to the leading edge of EGF-stimulated cells. Inhibition of Rho or ROCK enhanced protrusion, yet markedly inhibited cell motility; these changes correlated with a marked activation of Rac-1 at the cell edge. Surprisingly, whereas EGF-stimulated protrusion in control MTLn3 cells is Rac-independent and Cdc42-dependent, the opposite pattern is observed in MTLn3 cells after inhibition of ROCK. Thus, Rho and ROCK suppress Rac-1 activation at the leading edge, and inhibition of ROCK causes a switch between Cdc42 and Rac-1 as the dominant Rho GTPase driving protrusion in carcinoma cells. These data describe a novel role for Rho in coordinating signaling by Rac and Cdc42.
RhoA; ROCK; Rac; EGF; metastasis
Protrusion of the leading edge of migrating epithelial cells requires precise regulation of two actin filament (F-actin) networks, the lamellipodium and lamella. Cofilin is a downstream target of Rho-GTPase signaling that promotes F-actin cycling through its F-actin nucleating, severing and depolymerizing activity. However, its function in modulating lamellipodium and lamella dynamics, and their implications for protrusion efficiency have been unclear. Using quantitative fluorescent speckle microscopy, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy, we establish that the Rac1/Pak1/LIMK1 signaling pathway controls cofilin activity within the lamellipodium. Enhancement of cofilin activity accelerates F-actin turnover and retrograde flow, resulting in widening of the lamellipodium. This is accompanied by increased spatial overlap of the lamellipodium and lamella networks and reduced cell edge protrusion efficiency. We propose that cofilin functions as a regulator of cell protrusion by modulating the spatial interaction of lamellipodium and lamella in response to upstream signals.
Fascin, an actin-bundling protein involved in cell motility, has been shown to be upregulated in several types of carcinomas. In this study, we investigated the expression of fascin in 228 advanced colonic adenocarcinoma patients with a long follow-up. Fascin expression was compared with several clinicopathologic parameters and survival. Overall, fascin immunoreactivity was detected in 162 (71%) tumours with a prevalence for right-sided tumours (P<0.001). Fascin correlated significantly with sex, tumour grade and stage, mucinous differentiation, number of metastatic lymph nodes, extranodal tumour extension, and the occurrence of distant metastases. Patients with fascin-expressing tumours experienced a shorter disease-free and overall survival in comparison with those with negative tumours, and fascin immunoreactivity emerged as an independent prognostic factor in the multivariate analysis. Moreover, patients with the same tumour stages could be stratified in different risk categories for relapse and progression according to fascin expression. Our findings suggest that fascin is a useful prognostic marker for colonic adenocarcinomas.
fascin; immunohistochemistry; colorectal cancer; prognosis
Fascin induces membrane protrusions and cell motility. Fascin overexpression was associated with poor prognosis, and its downregulation reduces cell motility and invasiveness in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Using a stable knockdown cell line, we revealed the effect of fascin on cell growth, cell adhesion and tumor formation.
We examined whether fascin is a potential target in ESCC using in vitro and in vivo studies utilizing a specific siRNA. We established a stable transfectant with downregulated fascin from KYSE170 cell line.
The fascin downregulated cell lines showed a slower growth pattern by 40.3% (p < 0.01) and detachment from collagen-coated plates by 53.6% (p < 0.01), compared to mock cells, suggesting that fascin plays a role in cell growth by maintaining cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix. In vivo, the tumor size was significantly smaller in the tumor with fascin knockdown cells than in mock cells by 95% at 30 days after inoculation.
These findings suggest that fascin overexpression plays a role in tumor growth and progression in ESCC and that cell death caused by its downregulation might be induced by cell adhesion loss. This indicates that targeting fascin pathway could be a novel therapeutic strategy for the human ESCC.
The actin-bundling protein fascin is a key mediator of tumor invasion and metastasis and its activity drives filopodia formation, cell-shape changes and cell migration. Small-molecule inhibitors of fascin block tumor metastasis in animal models. Conversely, fascin deficiency might underlie the pathogenesis of some developmental brain disorders. To identify fascin-pathway modulators we devised a cell-based assay for fascin function and used it in a bidirectional drug screen. The screen utilized cultured fascin-deficient mutant Drosophila neurons, whose neurite arbors manifest the ‘filagree’ phenotype. Taking a repurposing approach, we screened a library of 1040 known compounds, many of them FDA-approved drugs, for filagree modifiers. Based on scaffold distribution, molecular-fingerprint similarities, and chemical-space distribution, this library has high structural diversity, supporting its utility as a screening tool. We identified 34 fascin-pathway blockers (with potential anti-metastasis activity) and 48 fascin-pathway enhancers (with potential cognitive-enhancer activity). The structural diversity of the active compounds suggests multiple molecular targets. Comparisons of active and inactive compounds provided preliminary structure-activity relationship information. The screen also revealed diverse neurotoxic effects of other drugs, notably the ‘beads-on-a-string’ defect, which is induced solely by statins. Statin-induced neurotoxicity is enhanced by fascin deficiency. In summary, we provide evidence that primary neuron culture using a genetic model organism can be valuable for early-stage drug discovery and developmental neurotoxicity testing. Furthermore, we propose that, given an appropriate assay for target-pathway function, bidirectional screening for brain-development disorders and invasive cancers represents an efficient, multipurpose strategy for drug discovery.
Dendritic cells (DCs) play central roles in innate and adaptive immunity. Upon maturation, DCs assemble numerous veil-like membrane protrusions, disassemble podosomes, and travel from the peripheral tissues to lymph nodes to present antigens to T-cells. These alterations in morphology and motility are closely linked to the primary function of DCs, antigen presentation. However, it is unclear how and what cytoskeletal proteins control maturation-associated alterations, in particular, the change in cell migration. Fascin1, an actin-bundling protein, is specifically and greatly induced upon maturation, suggesting a unique role for fascin1 in mature DCs. To determine the physiological roles of fascin1, we characterized bone marrow-derived, mature DCs from fascin1 knockout mice. We found that fascin1 is critical for cell migration: Fascin1 null DCs exhibit severely decreased membrane protrusive activity. Importantly, fascin1 null DCs have lower chemotactic activity toward CCL19 (a chemokine for mature DCs) in vitro, and in vivo, Langerhans cells show reduced emigration into draining lymph nodes. Morphologically, fascin1 null mature DCs are flatter and fail to disassemble podosomes, a specialized structure for cell-matrix adhesion. Expression of exogenous fascin1 in fascin1 null DCs rescues the defects in membrane protrusive activity, as well as in podosome disassembly. These results indicate that fascin1 positively regulates migration of mature DCs into lymph nodes, likely by increasing dynamics of membrane protrusions, as well as by disassembling podosomes.
Fascin1; Dendritic cells; cell motility; podosome; membrane protrusions; OmniBank