β-Catenin has a dual function in cells: fortifying cadherin-based adhesion at the plasma membrane and activating transcription in the nucleus. We found that in melanoma cells, WNT5A stimulated the disruption of N-cadherin and β-catenin complexes by activating the guanosine triphosphatase adenosine diphosphate ribosylation factor 6 (ARF6). Binding of WNT5A to the Frizzled 4–LRP6 (low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 6) receptor complex activated ARF6, which liberated β-catenin from N-cadherin, thus increasing the pool of free β-catenin, enhancing β-catenin–mediated transcription, and stimulating invasion. In contrast to WNT5A, the guidance cue SLIT2 and its receptor ROBO1 inhibited ARF6 activation and, accordingly, stabilized the interaction of N-cadherin with β-catenin and reduced transcription and invasion. Thus, ARF6 integrated competing signals in melanoma cells, thereby enabling plasticity in the response to external cues. Moreover, small-molecule inhibition of ARF6 stabilized adherens junctions, blocked β-catenin signaling and invasiveness of melanoma cells in culture, and reduced spontaneous pulmonary metastasis in mice, suggesting that targeting ARF6 may provide a means of inhibiting WNT/β-catenin signaling in cancer.
Wnt signaling has an essential role in embryonic development as well as stem/progenitor cell renewal, and its aberrant activation is implicated in many diseases, including several cancers. β-Catenin is a critical component of Wnt-mediated transcriptional activation. Here we show that ARF6 activation during canonical Wnt signaling promotes the intracellular accumulation of β-catenin via a mechanism that involves the endocytosis of growth factor receptors and robust activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). ERK promotes casein kinase 2-mediated phosphorylation of α-catenin, leading to destabilization of the adherens junctions and a subsequent increase in cytoplasmic pools of active β-catenin and E-cadherin. ERK also phosphorylates LRP6 to amplify the Wnt transduction pathway. The aforementioned Wnt-ERK signaling pathway initiates lumen filling of epithelial cysts by promoting cell proliferation in three-dimensional cell cultures. This study elucidates a mechanism responsible for the switch in β-catenin functions in cell adhesion at the adherens junctions and Wnt-induced nuclear signaling.
This study shows that the small GTP-binding protein ADP-ribosylation factor 6 (ARF6) is an important regulator of tumor growth and metastasis. Using spontaneous melanoma tumor growth assays and experimental metastasis assays in nude mice, we show that sustained activation of ARF6 reduces tumor mass growth but significantly enhances the invasive capacity of tumor cells. In contrast, mice injected with tumor cells expressing a dominantly inhibitory ARF6 mutant exhibited a lower incidence and degree of invasion and lung metastasis compared with control animals. Effects on tumor growth correlate with reduced cell proliferation capacity and are linked at least in part to alterations in mitotic progression induced by defective ARF6 cycling. Furthermore, phospho-ERK levels in subcultured cells from ARF6(GTP) and ARF6(GDP) tumor explants correlate with invasive capacity. ARF6-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling leads to Rac1 activation to promote invadopodia formation and cell invasion. These findings document an intricate role for ARF6 and the regulation of ERK activation in orchestrating mechanisms underlying melanoma growth, invasion, and metastases.
The depletion of ARF6 in epithelial cysts causes a striking inversion of glandular orientation. This requires temporal Rac1 inactivation and is accompanied in basement membrane cultures by improperly assembled laminins. In collagen I, these inverted cysts promote integrin-linked fibril linearization reminiscent of matrix remodeling in disease.
Epithelial cysts comprise the structural units of the glandular epithelium. Although glandular inversion in epithelial tumors is thought to be a potential mechanism for the establishment of metastatic disease, little is known about the morphogenic cues and signaling pathways that govern glandular polarity and organization. Using organotypic cultures of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells in reconstituted basement membrane, we show that cellular depletion of the small GTP-binding protein ARF6 promotes the formation of inverted cysts, wherein the apical cell membrane faces the cyst exterior, and the basal domain faces the central lumen, while individual cell polarity is maintained. These cysts are also defective in interactions with laminin at the cyst–matrix interface. This inversion of glandular orientation is accompanied by Rac1 inactivation during early cystogenesis, and temporal activation of Rac1 is sufficient to recover the normal cyst phenotype. In an unnatural collagen I microenvironment, ARF6-depleted, inverted epithelial cysts exhibit some loss of cell polarity, a marked increase in Rho activation and Rac1 inactivation, and striking rearrangement of the surrounding collagen I matrix. These studies demonstrate the importance of ARF6 as a critical determinant of glandular orientation and the matrix environment in dictating structural organization of epithelial cysts.
A wide range of cellular activities depends upon endocytic recycling. ARF6, a small molecular weight GTPase, regulates the processes of endocytosis and endocytic recycling in concert with various effector molecules and other small GTPases. This review highlights three critical processes that involve ARF6-mediated endosomal membrane trafficking—cell motility, cytokinesis, and cholesterol homeostasis. In each case, the function of ARF6-mediated trafficking varies—including localization of specific protein and lipid cargo, regulation of bulk membrane movement, and modulation of intracellular signaling. As described in this review, mis-regulation of endocytic traffic can result in human disease when it compromises the cell’s ability to regulate cell movement and invasion, cell division, and lipid homeostasis.
Endocytic recycling; ARF6; cell motility; cytokinesis; cholesterol trafficking
The fly pupal eye is used to explore dArf6 activity regulated by the Arf GTPase–activating proteins (ArfGAPs) dAsap and dArfGAP3 and Arf GTP exchange factors Schizo and dPsd, which promote cellular extensions that presage cell rearrangements. The adaptor protein Cindr bound to dArfGAP3 and dAsap to sequester ArfGAP function to Neph1/nephrin adhesion complexes, liberating active dArf6 elsewhere.
Patterning of the Drosophila pupal eye is characterized by precise cell movements. In this paper, we demonstrate that these movements require an Arf regulatory cycle that connects surface receptors to actin-based movement. dArf6 activity—regulated by the Arf GTPase–activating proteins (ArfGAPs) dAsap and dArfGAP3 and the Arf GTP exchange factors Schizo and dPsd—promoted large cellular extensions; time-lapse microscopy indicated that these extensions presage cell rearrangements into correct epithelial niches. During this process, the Drosophila eye also requires interactions between surface Neph1/nephrin adhesion receptors Roughest and Hibris, which bind the adaptor protein Cindr (CD2AP). We provide evidence that Cindr forms a physical complex with dArfGAP3 and dAsap. Our data suggest this interaction sequesters ArfGAP function to liberate active dArf6 elsewhere in the cell. We propose that a Neph1/nephrin–Cindr/ArfGAP complex accumulates to limit local Arf6 activity and stabilize adherens junctions. Our model therefore links surface adhesion via an Arf6 regulatory cascade to dynamic modeling of the cytoskeleton, accounting for precise cell movements that organize the functional retinal field. Further, we demonstrate a similar relationship between the mammalian Cindr orthologue CD2AP and Arf6 activity in cell motility assays. We propose that this Cindr/CD2AP-mediated regulation of Arf6 is a widely used mechanism in emerging epithelia.
Increased MAPK signaling, small GTPase activation, cytoskeletal rearrangements and the directed targeting of proteases to sites of extracellular matrix degradation, all accompany the process of tumor cell invasion. Several studies have implicated the small GTP-binding protein, ARF6, in tumor cell invasion although the molecular basis by which ARF6 facilitates this process is unclear.
We show that the ARF6 GTP/GDP cycle regulates the release of protease-loaded plasma membrane-derived microvesicles from tumor cells into the surrounding environment. To enable microvesicle shedding, ARF6-GTP dependent activation of phospholipase D promotes the recruitment of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) to the plasma membrane where in turn, ERK phosphorylates and activates myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). MLCK-mediated MLC phosphorylation is required for microvesicle release. Inhibition of ARF6 activation is accompanied by PKC-mediated phosphorylation of MLC, which blocks microvesicle shedding. Protein cargo appears to be selectively sorted into microvesicles and adhesion to the ECM is facilitated by microvesicle-associated integrin receptors.
Microvesicle shedding in tumor cells occurs via an actomyosin-based membrane abscission mechanism that is regulated by nucleotide cycling on ARF6. Microvesicle shedding appears to release selected cellular components, particularly those involved in cell adhesion and motility, into the surrounding environment. These findings suggest that ARF6 activation and the proteolytic activities of microvesicles both of which are thought to correlate directly with tumor progression, could potentially serve as biomarkers for disease.
This study shows that constitutive ARF6 activation during epithelial cyst morphogenesis promotes the formation of signaling endosomes that serve as platforms for hyperactive receptor signaling and leads to the generation of tumorigenic glandular phenotypes.
Tumor development in glandular tissues is associated with structural alterations in the hollow ducts and spherical structures that comprise such tissues. We describe a signaling axis involving sustained activation of the GTP-binding protein, ARF6, that provokes dramatic changes in the organization of epithelial cysts, reminiscent of tumorigenic glandular phenotypes. In reconstituted basement membrane cultures of renal epithelial cysts, enhanced ARF6 activation induces the formation of cell-filled glandular structures with multiple lumens and disassembled cadherin-based cell–cell contacts. All of these alterations are accompanied by growth factor receptor internalization into signaling endosomes and reversed by blocking ARF6 activation or receptor endocytosis. Receptor localization in signaling endosomes results in hyperactive extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling leading to Bcl-2 stabilization and aberrant cysts. Similarly, formation of hyperproliferative and disorganized mammary acini induced by chronic stimulation of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor is coupled to endogenous ARF6 activation and constitutive receptor internalization and is reversed by ARF6 inhibition. These findings identify a previously unrecognized link between ARF6-regulated receptor internalization and events that drive dramatic alterations in cyst morphogenesis providing new mechanistic insight into the molecular processes that can promote epithelial glandular disruption.
A common pathobiological feature of malignant gliomas is the insidious infiltration of single tumor cells into the brain parenchyma, rendering these deadly tumors virtually incurable with available therapies. In this study, we report that ADP-ribosylation factor 6 (ARF6), a Ras superfamily small GTPase, is abundantly expressed in invasive human glioma cells. Cellular depletion of ARF6 by siRNA decreased Rac1 activation, impaired HGF- and serum-stimulated glioma cell migration in vitro, and markedly decreased the invasive capacity of invasive glioma in the brain. Furthermore, ectopic expression of ARF6 in glioma cells promoted cell migration via the activation of Rac1. Upon stimulation of glioma cells with HGF, We show that IQGAP1 is recruited to and overlaps with ARF6 at the leading edge of migrating cells. However, cellular depletion of ARF6 abrogated this recruitment of IQGAP1 and attenuated the formation of surface protrusions. ARF6 forms complexes with Rac1 and IQGAP1 in glioma cells upon HGF stimulation, and knockdown of IQGAP1 significantly inhibits ARF6-induced Rac1 activation and cell migration. Taken together, these data suggest that ARF6-mediated Rac1 activation is essential for glioma cell invasion, via a signaling pathway that requires IQGAP1.
ARF6; IQGAP1; Rac1; glioma; invasion
In human Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease, endosomal trafficking defects lead to an accumulation of free cholesterol and other lipids in late endosome/lysosome (LE/LY) compartments, a subsequent block in cholesterol esterification and significantly reduced cholesterol efflux out of the cell. Here we report that nucleotide cycling or cellular knockdown of the small GTP-binding protein, ARF6, markedly impacts cholesterol homeostasis. Unregulated ARF6 activation attenuates the NPC phenotype at least in part by decreasing cholesterol accumulation and restoring normal sphingolipid trafficking. These effects depend on ARF6-stimulated cholesterol efflux out of the endosomal recycling compartment, a major cell repository for free cholesterol. We also show that fibroblasts derived from different NPC patients displayed varying levels of ARF6 that is GTP-bound, which correlate with their response to sustained ARF6 activation. These studies support emerging evidence that early endocytic defects impact NPC disease and suggest that such heterogeneity in NPC disease could result in diverse responses to therapeutic interventions aimed at modulating the trafficking of lipids.
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.
Epithelial cells disassemble their adherens junctions and “scatter” during processes such as tumor cell invasion as well as some stages of embryonic development. Control of actin polymerization is a powerful mechanism for regulating the strength of cell–cell adhesion. In this regard, studies have shown that sustained activation of Rac1, a well-known regulator of actin dynamics, results in the accumulation of polymerized actin at cell–cell contacts in epithelia and an increase in E-cadherin–mediated adhesion. Here we show that active Rac1 is ubiquitinated and subject to proteasome-mediated degradation during the early stages of epithelial cell scattering. These findings delineate a mechanism for the down-regulation of Rac1 in the disassembly of epithelial cell–cell contacts and support the emerging theme that UPS-mediated degradation of the Rho family GTPases may serve as an efficient mechanism for GTPase deactivation in the sustained presence of Dbl-exchange factors.
A hallmark characteristic of epithelial tumor progression as well as some processes of normal development is the loss of the epithelial phenotype and acquisition of a motile or mesenchymal phenotype. Such epithelial to mesenchymal transitions are accompanied by the loss of E-cadherin function by either transcriptional or posttranscriptional mechanisms. Here we demonstrate that, upon v-Src expression, a potent trigger of epithelial to mesenchymal transitions, E-cadherin is internalized and then shuttled to the lysosome instead of being recycled back to the lateral membrane. Thus, while E-cadherin internalization facilitates the dissolution of adherens junctions, its subsequent traffic to the lysosome serves as a means to ensure that cells do not reform their cell-cell contacts and remain motile. We also show that ubiquitin tagging of E-cadherin is essential for its sorting to the lysosome. The lysosomal targeting of E-cadherin is mediated by hepatocyte growth factor-regulated tyrosine kinase substrate (Hrs) and v-Src-induced activation of the Rab5 and Rab7 GTPases. Our studies reveal that the lysosomal targeting of E-cadherin is an important posttranscriptional mechanism to deplete cellular E-cadherin during Src-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transitions.
To understand the role that ARF6 plays in regulating isoactin dynamics and cell motility, we transfected endothelial cells (EC) with HA-tagged ARF6: the wild-type form (WT), a constitutively-active form unable to hydrolyze GTP (Q67L), and two dominant-negative forms, which are either unable to release GDP (T27N) or fail to bind nucleotide (N122I). Motility was assessed by digital imaging microscopy before Western blot analysis, coimmunoprecipitation, or colocalization studies using ARF6, β-actin, or β-actin-binding protein-specific antibodies. EC expressing ARF6-Q67L spread and close in vitro wounds at twice the control rates. EC expressing dominant-negative ARF6 fail to develop a leading edge, are unable to ruffle their membranes (N122I), and possess arborized processes. Colocalization studies reveal that the Q67L and WT ARF6-HA are enriched at the leading edge with β-actin; but T27N and N122I ARF6-HA are localized on endosomes together with the β-actin capping protein, βcap73. Coimmunoprecipitation and Western blot analyses reveal the direct association of ARF6-HA with βcap73, defining a role for ARF6 in signaling cytoskeletal remodeling during motility. Knowledge of the role that ARF6 plays in orchestrating membrane and β-actin dynamics will help to reveal molecular mechanisms regulating actin-based motility during development and disease.
Phospholipase D (PLD) activity is elevated in response to the oncogenic stimulus of H-Ras but not K-Ras. H-Ras and K-Ras have been reported to localize to different membrane microdomains, with H-Ras localizing to caveolin-enriched light membrane fractions. We reported previously that PLD activity elevated in response to mitogenic stimulation is restricted to the caveolin-enriched light membrane fractions. PLD activity in H-Ras-transformed cells is dependent upon RalA, and consistent with a lack of elevated PLD activity in K-Ras-transformed cells, RalA was not activated in K-Ras-transformed cells. Although H-Ras-induced PLD activity is dependent upon RalA, an activated mutant of RalA is not sufficient to elevate PLD activity. We reported previously that RalA interacts with PLD activating ADP ribosylation factor (ARF) proteins. In cells transformed by H-Ras, we found increased coprecipitation of ARF6 with RalA. Moreover, ARF6 colocalized with RalA in light membrane fractions. Interestingly, ARF6 protein levels were elevated in H-Ras- but not K-Ras-transformed cells. A dominant-negative mutant of ARF6 inhibited PLD activity in H-Ras-transformed NIH 3T3 cells. Activated mutants of either ARF6 or RalA were not sufficient to elevate PLD activity in NIH 3T3 cells; however, expression of both activated RalA and activated ARF6 in NIH 3T3 cells led to increased PLD activity. These data suggest a model whereby H-Ras stimulates the activation of both RalA and ARF6, which together lead to the elevation of PLD activity.
In this study, we have documented an essential role for ADP-ribosylation factor 6 (ARF6) in cell surface remodeling in response to physiological stimulus and in the down regulation of stress fiber formation. We demonstrate that the G-protein-coupled receptor agonist bombesin triggers the redistribution of ARF6- and Rac1-containing endosomal vesicles to the cell surface. This membrane redistribution was accompanied by cortical actin rearrangements and was inhibited by dominant negative ARF6, implying that bombesin is a physiological trigger of ARF6 activation. Furthermore, these studies provide a new model for bombesin-induced Rac1 activation that involves ARF6-regulated endosomal recycling. The bombesin-elicited translocation of vesicular ARF6 was mimicked by activated Gαq and was partially inhibited by expression of RGS2, which down regulates Gq function. This suggests that Gq functions as an upstream regulator of ARF6 activation. The ARF6-induced peripheral cytoskeletal rearrangements were accompanied by a depletion of stress fibers. Moreover, cells expressing activated ARF6 resisted the formation of stress fibers induced by lysophosphatidic acid. We show that the ARF6-dependent inhibition of stress fiber formation was due to an inhibition of RhoA activation and was overcome by expression of a constitutively active RhoA mutant. The latter observations demonstrate that activation of ARF6 down regulates Rho signaling. Our findings underscore the potential roles of ARF6, Rac1, and RhoA in the coordinated regulation of cytoskeletal remodeling.
We have shown previously that the ADP- ribosylation factor (ARF)-6 GTPase localizes to the plasma membrane and intracellular endosomal compartments. Expression of ARF6 mutants perturbs endosomal trafficking and the morphology of the peripheral membrane system. However, another study on the distribution of ARF6 in subcellular fractions of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells suggested that ARF6 did not localize to endosomes labeled after 10 min of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) uptake, but instead was uniquely localized to the plasma membrane, and that its reported endosomal localization may have been a result of overexpression. Here we demonstrate that at the lowest detectable levels of protein expression by cryoimmunogold electron microscopy, ARF6 localized predominantly to an intracellular compartment at the pericentriolar region of the cell. The ARF6-labeled vesicles were partially accessible to HRP only on prolonged exposure to the endocytic tracer but did not localize to early endocytic structures that labeled with HRP shortly after uptake. Furthermore, we have shown that the ARF6-containing intracellular compartment partially colocalized with transferrin receptors and cellubrevin and morphologically resembled the recycling endocytic compartment previously described in CHO cells. HRP labeling in cells expressing ARF6(Q67L), a GTP-bound mutant of ARF6, was restricted to small peripheral vesicles, whereas the mutant protein was enriched on plasma membrane invaginations. On the other hand, expression of ARF6(T27N), a mutant of ARF6 defective in GDP binding, resulted in an accumulation of perinuclear ARF6-positive vesicles that partially colocalized with HRP on prolonged exposure to the tracer. Taken together, our findings suggest that ARF activation is required for the targeted delivery of ARF6-positive, recycling endosomal vesicles to the plasma membrane.
Leukocyte adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is tightly controlled and is vital for the immune response. Circulating lymphocytes leave the bloodstream and adhere to ECM components at sites of inflammation and lymphoid tissues. Mechanisms for regulating T-lymphocyte–ECM adhesion include (i) an alteration in the affinity of cell surface integrin receptors for their extracellular ligands and (ii) an alteration of events following postreceptor occupancy (e.g., cell spreading). Whereas H-Ras and R-Ras were previously shown to affect T-cell adhesion by altering the affinity state of the integrin receptors, no signaling molecule has been identified for the second mechanism. In this study, we demonstrated that expression of an activated mutant of Rac triggered dramatic spreading of T cells and their increased adhesion on immobilized fibronectin in an integrin-dependent manner. This effect was not mimicked by expression of activated mutant forms of Rho, Cdc42, H-Ras, or ARF6, indicating the unique role of Rac in this event. The Rac-induced spreading was accompanied by specific cytoskeletal rearrangements. Also, a clustering of integrins at sites of cell adhesion and at the peripheral edges of spread cells was observed. We demonstrate that expression of RacV12 did not alter the level of expression of cell surface integrins or the affinity state of the integrin receptors. Moreover, our results indicate that Rac plays a role in the regulation of T-cell adhesion by a mechanism involving cell spreading, rather than by altering the level of expression or the affinity of the integrin receptors. Furthermore, we show that the Rac-mediated signaling pathway leading to spreading of T lymphocytes did not require activation of c-Jun kinase, serum response factor, or pp70S6 kinase but appeared to involve a phospholipid kinase.