X-ray irradiation influences metastatic properties of tumor cells and, moreover, metastasis and cellular motility can be modified by members of the Eph receptor/ephrin family of receptor tyrosine kinases. We hypothesized that irradiation-induced changes in cellular properties relevant for metastasis in melanoma cells could be mediated by Eph receptor/ephrin signaling. In this pilot study, we analyzed one pre-metastatic (Mel-Juso) and three metastatic human melanoma (Mel-Juso-L3, A375, and A2058) cells lines and predominantly found anti-metastatic effects of X-ray irradiation with impaired cell growth, clonal growth and motility. Additionally, we observed an irradiation-induced increase in adhesion paralleled by a decrease in migration in Mel-Juso and Mel-Juso-L3 cells and, in part, also in A375 cells. We further demonstrate a decrease of EphA2 both in expression and activity at 7 d after irradiation paralleled by an upregulation of EphA3. Analyzing downstream signaling after irradiation, we detected decreased Src kinase phosphorylation, but unchanged focal adhesion kinase (FAK) phosphorylation, indicating, in part, irradiation-induced downregulation of signaling via the EphA2-Src-FAK axis in melanoma cells. However, to which extent this finding contributes to the modification of metastasis-relevant cellular properties remains to be elucidated.
radiation therapy; malignant skin cancer; metastasis; Eph receptors; ephrins
The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases family and their membrane bound ligands, the ephrins, represents a complex signaling network of cell communication for cell sorting during tissue patterning in development and in the normal physiology and homeostasis of adult tissues. This molecular family has adapted to evolving tissue complexity in multicellular organisms through the emergence of more members and complex mechanisms of expression and signaling that result in the fine-tuning of cell positioning. Since their initial identification from an erythropoietin producing hepatocellular (Eph) carcinoma cell line in 1987, Eph/ephrin signaling has been a matter of intensive investigation for their plausible role in cancer. Similarly to their context dependent modus operandi in normal tissues, Eph/ephrin signaling in cancer is an intricate and puzzling network of events that tumors “manage” to their benefit in multiple aspects like cell adhesion to substrate, migration, invasion or growth.
The Eph receptor tyrosine kinase family includes many members, which are often expressed together in various combinations and can promiscuously interact with multiple ephrin ligands, generating intricate networks of intracellular signals that control physiological and pathological processes. Knowing the entire repertoire of Eph receptors and ephrins expressed in a biological sample is important when studying their biological roles. Moreover, given the correlation between Eph receptor/ephrin expression and cancer pathogenesis, their expression patterns could serve important diagnostic and prognostic purposes. However, profiling Eph receptor and ephrin expression has been challenging. Here we describe a novel and straightforward approach to catalog the Eph receptors present in cultured cells and tissues. By measuring the binding of ephrin Fc fusion proteins to Eph receptors in ELISA and pull-down assays, we determined that a mixture of four ephrins is suitable for isolating both EphA and EphB receptors in a single pull-down. We then used mass spectrometry to identify the Eph receptors present in the pull-downs and estimate their relative levels. This approach was validated in cultured human cancer cell lines, human tumor xenograft tissue grown in mice, and mouse brain tissue. The new mass spectrometry approach we have developed represents a useful tool for the identification of the spectrum of Eph receptors present in a biological sample and could also be extended to profiling ephrin expression.
ephrin; protein tyrosine kinase; pull-down; LC/MS/MS
The family of Eph tyrosine kinase receptors is an important part of signaling pathways involved in development, tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis. Binding and activation of the receptors by their ligands, the ephrins, result in bidirectional signaling into both receptor and ligand expressing cells. Adult stem cell niches and tumors frequently express receptors and ligands, although their function is only beginning to be understood. Thus, Eph receptors and ephrins have become important molecules for understanding basic biological processes as well as tumorigenesis, and are promising targets for potential therapeutic intervention in human disease.
The erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular (Eph) receptors form the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases. Upon interaction of the Eph receptors with their ligands the ephrins, signaling cascades are initiated downstream of both receptor and ligand, a feature known as bidirectional signaling. The Eph receptors and ephrin ligands mediate important roles in embryonic development, particularly in establishing tissue organization by mediating cell adhesion or cell repulsion. In several adult tissues, at least one Eph/ephrin pair is found to play critical roles in tissue physiology and homeostasis. In recent years numerous members of this family have gained considerable attention since changes in their expression levels are a typical feature in cancer cells. Despite the fact that Eph/ephrin developmental expression profiles are well documented, little is known on transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms that permits their highly specific, graded, complementary or overlapping expression patterns. Therefore understanding the transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms regulating Eph/ephrin expression has far-reaching significance in biology. This review provides an overview of the mechanisms regulating Eph/ephrin expression. We highlight important emerging mechanisms of Eph/ephrin regulation or misregulation such as epigenetics and miRNAs.
cancer; development; Eph receptors; ephrins; epigenetic; microRNA
Historically, a hallmark of tumorigenesis was the ability to grow in an anchorage-independent manner. Hence, tumors were thought to proliferate and survive independently of integrin attachment to the substratum. However, recent data suggest that integrins regulate not only tumor cell proliferation, survival and migration, but may also influence their response to anti-cancer agents. Interestingly, these influences are largely masked by growth of tumor cells in the standard, yet artificial, environment of 2D cell culture, but are readily apparent under 3D in vitro culture conditions and in tumor growth in vivo. We, and others, have recently demonstrated that the β1 integrin subunit controls the growth and invasion of prostate tumor cells in 3D culture conditions. Recently, the importance of integrins has also been demonstrated using tissue specific conditional knockout strategies in transgenic mouse tumor models, where they control primary tumor growth and dictate the site of metastatic spread. Furthermore, integrin-extracellular matrix interactions may modulate the response of tumors to standard chemotherapy agents or radiation. Taken together, these results highlight the important role of integrins in regulating tumor growth and metastasis; however, point out that the evaluation of their contribution to these processes requires appropriate contextual modeling.
3D growth; drug resistance; fibronectin; invasion; matrix metalloproteinase; tumor; β1 integrin
Cellular locomotion and adhesion critically depend on regulated turnover of filamentous actin. Biochemical data from diverse model systems support a role for the family of small heat shock proteins (HSPBs) in microfilament regulation. The small chaperones could either act directly, through competition with the motor myosin, or indirectly, through modulation of actin depolymerizing factor/cofilin activity. However, a direct link between HSPBs and actin-based cellular motility remained to be established. In a recent experimental genetics study, we provided evidence for regulation of Plasmodium motility by HSPB6/Hsp20. The infectious forms of malaria parasites, termed sporozoites, display fast and continuous substrate-dependent motility, which is largely driven by turnover of actin microfilaments. Sporozoite gliding locomotion is essential to avoid destruction by host defense mechanisms and to ultimately reach a hepatocyte, the target cell, where to transform and replicate. Genetic ablation of Plasmodium HSP20 dramatically changed sporozoite speed and substrate adhesion, resulting in impaired natural malaria transmission. In this article, we discuss the function of Hsp20 in this fast-moving unicellular protozoan and implications for the roles of HSPBs in adhesion and migration of eukaryotic cells.
gliding motility; adhesion sites; cellular migration; small heat shock proteins; Hsp20; Plasmodium; sporozoite; malaria
RGMa (repulsive guidance molecule a) was the first identified molecule that possessed the necessary functional activity to repulse and steer growth cones to their target in the brain. By binding to its neogenin receptor, RGMa caused the collapse of growth cones and encouraged axons to grow along specific trajectories in vitro. Although originally characterized in 1990, RGMa was not conclusively shown to mediate axon guidance in vivo for another 12 years. Loss-of-function analysis in mice revealed that RGMa may play a more important role in neural tube morphogenesis. RGMa has now emerged as a molecule with pleiotropic roles involving cell adhesion, cell migration, cell polarity and cell differentiation which together strongly influence early morphogenetic events as well as immune responses. RGMa can be regarded as a molecule for all seasons.
RGMa; chemorepulsion; neural tube; axon guidance; neogenin
Recent findings indicate that cannabinoid-altered vocal development involves elevated densities of dendritic spines in a subset of brain regions involved in zebra finch song learning and production suggesting that cannabinoid receptor activation may regulate cell structure. Here we report that activation of zebra finch CB1 receptors (zfCB1, delivered by a lentivector to CHO cells) produces dose-dependent biphasic effects on the mean length of filopodia expressed: Low agonist concentrations (3 nM WIN55212-2) increase lengths while higher concentrations reduce them. In contrast, treatment of zfCB1-expressing cells with the antagonist/inverse agonist SR141716A causes increases in both mean filopodia length and number at 30 and 100 nM. These results demonstrate that CB1 receptor activation can differentially influence filiopodia elongation depending on dose, and demonstrate that manipulation of cannabinoid receptor activity is capable of modulating cell morphology.
filopodia; CB1 cannabinoid receptor; cell morphology; F-actin; lentivector
Id-1; neural stem cells; Rap1; Rap1GAP; transcription
Profilins are small G-actin-binding proteins essential for cytoskeletal dynamics. Of the four mammalian profilin isoforms, profilin1 shows a broad expression pattern, profilin2 is abundant in the brain, and profilin3 and profilin4 are restricted to the testis. In vitro studies on cancer and epithelial cell lines suggested a role for profilins in cell migration and cell-cell adhesion. Genetic studies in mice revealed the importance of profilin1 in neuronal migration, while profilin2 has apparently acquired a specific function in synaptic physiology. We recently reported a mouse mutant line lacking profilin1 in the brain; animals display morphological defects that are typical for impaired neuronal migration. We found that during cerebellar development, profilin1 is specifically required for radial migration and glial cell adhesion of granule neurons. Profilin1 mutants showed cerebellar hypoplasia and aberrant organization of cerebellar cortex layers, with ectopically arranged granule neurons. In this commentary, we briefly introduce the profilin family and summarize the current knowledge on profilin activity in cell migration and adhesion. Employing cerebellar granule cells as a model, we shed some light on the mechanisms by which profilin1 may control radial migration and glial cell adhesion. Finally, a potential implication of profilin1 in human developmental neuropathies is discussed.
actin dynamics; Bergmann glia; cerebellar granule neuron; cerebellum; lissencephaly; Miller-Dieker Lissencephaly Syndrome; radial migration
Integrins are a family of α/β heterodimeric adhesion metalloprotein receptors and their functions are highly dependent on and regulated by different divalent cations. Recently advanced studies have revolutionized our perception of integrin metal ion-binding sites and their specific functions. Ligand binding to integrins is bridged by a divalent cation bound at the MIDAS motif on top of either α I domain in I domain-containing integrins or β I domain in α I domain-less integrins. The MIDAS motif in β I domain is flanked by ADMIDAS and SyMBS, the other two crucial metal ion binding sites playing pivotal roles in the regulation of integrin affinity and bidirectional signaling across the plasma membrane. The β-propeller domain of α subunit contains three or four β-hairpin loop-like Ca2+-binding motifs that have essential roles in integrin biogenesis. The function of another Ca2+-binding motif located at the genu of α subunit remains elusive. Here, we provide an overview of the integrin metal ion-binding sites and discuss their roles in the regulation of integrin functions.
ADMIDAS; affinity; divalent cations; integrin; MIDAS; SyMBS
Epithelial cell adhesion molecule EpCAM is expressed on a subset of normal epithelia and overexpressed on malignant cells from a variety of different tumor entities. This overexpression is even more pronounced on so-called tumor-initiating cells (TICs) of many carcinomas. Taking this rather ubiquitous expression of EpCAM in carcinomas and TICs into account, the question arises how EpCAM can serve as a reliable marker for tumor-initiating cells and what might be the advantage for TICs to express this molecule. Furthermore, several approaches for therapeutic strategies targeting exclusively EpCAM on cancer cells were undertaken over the past decades and have recently been transferred to pre-clinical attempts to eradicate TICs. In the present review, we will depict potential functions of EpCAM in tumor cells with a special focus on TICs and therapeutic implications.
cancer therapy; EpCAM; tumor inducing cells
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the most powerful treatment modality for a large number of hematopoietic malignancies, including leukemia. Successful hematopoietic recovery after transplantation depends on homing of hematopoietic stem cells to the bone marrow and subsequent lodging of those cells in specific niches in the bone marrow. Migration of hematopoietic stem cells to the bone marrow is a highly regulated process that requires correct regulation of the expression and activity of various molecules including chemoattractants, selectins and integrins. This review will discuss recent studies that have extended our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying adhesion, migration and bone marrow homing of hematopoietic stem cells.
adhesion; bone marrow homing; hematopoietic stem cells; migration
The formation of a mature myotendinous junction (MTJ) between a muscle and its site of attachment is a highly regulated process that involves myofiber migration, cell-cell signaling, and culminates with the stable adhesion between the adjacent muscle-tendon cells. Improper establishment or maintenance of muscle-tendon attachment sites results in a decrease in force generation during muscle contraction and progressive muscular dystrophies in vertebrate models. Many studies have demonstrated the important role of the integrins and integrin-associated proteins in the formation and maintenance of the MTJ. We recently demonstrated that moleskin (msk), the gene that encodes for Drosophila importin-7 (DIM-7), is required for the proper formation of muscle-tendon adhesion sites in the developing embryo. Further studies demonstrated an enrichment of DIM-7 to the ends of muscles where the muscles attach to their target tendon cells. Genetic analysis supports a model whereby msk is required in the muscle and signals via the secreted epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr) ligand Vein to regulate tendon cell maturation. These data demonstrate a novel role for the canonical nuclear import protein DIM-7 in establishment of the MTJ.
Drosophila Importin-7; Egfr signaling; Integrins; myogenesis; myotendinous junction; tendon cells
In this article, I discuss the hallmarks of hypoxia in vitro and in vivo and review work showing that many types of stem cell proliferate more robustly in lowered oxygen. I then discuss recent studies showing that alterations in the levels and the types of cell and substrate adhesion molecules are a notable response to reduced O2 levels in both cultured primary neural stem cells and brain tissues in response to hypoxia in vivo. The ability of O2 levels to regulate adhesion molecule expression is linked to the Wnt signaling pathway, which can control and be controlled by adhesion events. The ability of O2 levels to influence cell adhesion also has far-reaching implications for development, ischemic trauma and neural regeneration, as well as for cancer and other diseases. Finally I discuss the possibility that the fluctuations in O2 levels known to have occurred over evolutionary time could, by influencing adhesion systems, have contributed to early symbiotic events in unicellular organisms and to the emergence of multicellularity. It is not my intention to be exhaustive in these domains, which are far from my own field of study. Rather this article is meant to provoke and stimulate thinking about molecular evolution involving O2 sensing and signaling during eras of geologic and atmospheric change that might inform modern studies on development and disease.
cell adhesion; early earth atmosphere; extracellular matrix; hypoxia; neural stem cells; oxygen
Laminin 332, composed of the α3, β3 and γ2 chains, is an epithelial-basement membrane specific laminin variant. Its main role in normal tissues is the maintenance of epithelial-mesenchymal cohesion in tissues exposed to external forces, including skin and stratified squamous mucosa. After being secreted and deposited in the extracellular matrix, laminin 332 undergoes physiological maturation processes consisting in the proteolytic processing of domains located within the α3 and the γ2 chains. These maturation events are essential for laminin 332 integration into the basement membrane where it plays an important function in the nucleation and maintenance of anchoring structures. Studies in normal and pathological situations have revealed that laminin 332 can trigger distinct cellular events depending on the level of its proteolytic cleavages. In this review, the biological and structural characteristics of laminin 332 domains are presented and we discuss whether they trigger specific functions.
laminin 332; LG45 domain; LE domain; syndecan; basement membrane; keratinocyte
Laminins are major constituents of basement membranes. At least 16 isoforms have now been described, each with distinct spatio-temporal expression patterns and functions. The laminin-511 heterotrimer (α5β1γ1) is one of the more recent isoforms to be identified and a potent adhesive and pro-migratory substrate for a variety of normal and tumor cell lines in vitro. As our understanding of its precise function in normal tissues and in pathologies is rapidly unraveling, current evidence suggests an important regulatory role in cancer. This review describes published data on laminin-511 expression in several malignancies and experimental evidence from both in vitro and in vivo studies supporting its functional role during tumor progression. A particular emphasis is put on more recent studies from our laboratory and that of others indicating that laminin-511 contributes to tumor dissemination and metastasis in advanced breast carcinomas and other tumor types. Collectively, the experimental evidence suggests that high expression of laminin-511 has prognostic significance and that targeting tumor-laminin-511 interactions may have therapeutic potential in advanced cancer patients.
laminin; integrins; metastasis; extracellular matrix; breast cancer; adhesion; migration; invasion
Laminin-111 is a large trimeric basement membrane glycoprotein with many active sites. In particular, four peptides active in tumor malignancy studies have been identified in laminin-111 using a systematic peptide screening method followed by various assays. Two of the peptides (IKVAV and AG73) are found on the α1 chain, one (YIGSR) of the β1 chain and one (C16) on the γ1 chain. The four peptides have distinct activities and receptors. Since three of the peptides (IKVAV, AG73 and C16) strongly promote tumor growth, this may explain the potent effects laminin-111 has on malignant cells. The peptide, YIGSR, decreases tumor growth and experimental metastasis via a 32/67 kD receptor while IKVAV increases tumor growth, angiogenesis and protease activity via integrin receptors. AG73 increases tumor growth and metastases via syndecan receptors. C16 increases tumor growth and angiogenesis via integrins. Identification of such sites on laminin-111 will have use in defining strategies to develop therapeutics for cancer.
laminin-111; synthetic peptide; metastasis; tumor growth; angiogenesis; migration; adhesion; basement membrane; proteases
The heterotrimeric laminins are a defining component of all basement membranes and self-assemble into a cell-associated network. The three short arms of the cross-shaped laminin molecule form the network nodes, with a strict requirement for one α, one β and one γ arm. The globular domain at the end of the long arm binds to cellular receptors, including integrins, α-dystroglycan, heparan sulfates and sulfated glycolipids. Collateral anchorage of the laminin network is provided by the proteoglycans perlecan and agrin. A second network is then formed by type IV collagen, which interacts with the laminin network through the heparan sulfate chains of perlecan and agrin and additional linkage by nidogen. This maturation of basement membranes becomes essential at later stages of embryo development.
laminin; collagen IV; nidogen; agrin; perlecan; dystroglycan
Basement membranes (BMs) evolved together with the first metazoan species approximately 500 million years ago. Main functions of BMs are stabilizing epithelial cell layers and connecting different types of tissues to functional, multicellular organisms. Mutations of BM proteins from worms to humans are either embryonic lethal or result in severe diseases, including muscular dystrophy, blindness, deafness, kidney defects, cardio-vascular abnormalities or retinal and cortical malformations. In vivo-derived BMs are difficult to come by; they are very thin and sticky and, therefore, difficult to handle and probe. In addition, BMs are difficult to solubilize complicating their biochemical analysis. For these reasons, most of our knowledge of BM biology is based on studies of the BM-like extracellular matrix (ECM) of mouse yolk sac tumors or from studies of the lens capsule, an unusually thick BM. Recently, isolation procedures for a variety of BMs have been described, and new techniques have been developed to directly analyze the protein compositions, the biomechanical properties and the biological functions of BMs. New findings show that native BMs consist of approximately 20 proteins. BMs are four times thicker than previously recorded, and proteoglycans are mainly responsible to determine the thickness of BMs by binding large quantities of water to the matrix. The mechanical stiffness of BMs is similar to that of articular cartilage. In mice with mutation of BM proteins, the stiffness of BMs is often reduced. As a consequence, these BMs rupture due to mechanical instability explaining many of the pathological phenotypes. Finally, the morphology and protein composition of human BMs changes with age, thus BMs are dynamic in their structure, composition and biomechanical properties.
basement membrane; mass spectrometry; atomic force microscopy; extracellular matrix; laminin; collagen IV; proteoglycans
The mechanisms controlling vascular development, both normal and pathological, are not yet fully understood. Many diseases, including cancer and diabetic retinopathy, involve abnormal blood vessel formation. Therefore, increasing knowledge of these mechanisms may help develop novel therapeutic targets. The identification of novel proteins or cells involved in this process would be particularly useful. The retina is an ideal model for studying vascular development because it is easy to access, particularly in rodents where this process occurs post-natally. Recent studies have suggested potential roles for laminin chains in vascular development of the retina. This review will provide an overview of these studies, demonstrating the importance of further research into the involvement of laminins in retinal blood vessel formation.
laminin; retina; blood vessels; angiogenesis; astrocytes; development
Laminins (LM) are extracellular matrix molecules that contribute to and are required for the formation of basement membranes. They participate in the modulation of epithelial/mesenchymal interactions and are implicated in organogenesis and maintenance of organ homeostasis. Among the LM molecules, the LM α5 chain (LMα5) is one of the most widely distributed LM in the developing and mature organism. Its presence in some basement membranes during embryogenesis is absolutely required for maintenance of basement membrane integrity and thus for proper organogenesis. LMα5 also regulates the expression of genes important for major biological processes, in part by repressing or activating signaling pathways, depending upon the physiological context.
basement membranes; cell receptors; extracellular matrix; stem cells; signaling pathways
Recent findings suggest that Ring finger protein 146 (RNF146), also called Iduna, have neuroprotective property due to its inhibition of Parthanatos via binding with Poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR). The Parthanatos is a PAR dependent cell death that has been implicated in many human diseases. RNF146/Iduna acts as a PARsylation-directed E3 ubquitin ligase to mediate tankyrase-dependent degradation of axin, thereby positively regulates Wnt signaling. RNF146/Iduna can also facilitate DNA repair and protect against cell death induced by DNA damaging agents or γ-irradiation. It can translocate to the nucleus after cellular injury and promote the ubiquitination and degradation of various nuclear proteins involved in DNA damage repair. The PARsylation-directed ubquitination mediated by RNF146/Iduna is analogous to the phosphorylation-directed ubquitination catalyzed by Skp1-Cul1-F-box (SCF) E3 ubiquitin complex. RNF146/Iduna has been found to be implicated in neurodegenerative disease and cancer development. Therefore modulation of the PAR-binding and PARsylation dependent E3 ligase activity of RNF146/Iduna could have therapeutic significance for diseases, in which PAR and PAR-binding proteins play key pathophysiologic roles.
E3 ubquitin ligase; ring finger protein 146; PAR-binding proteins; PARsylation; Parthanatos inhibitors; ubiquitination