CD44 is required for two consecutive steps in HGF/c-Met signaling.
ABSTRACT The tyrosine kinase receptor c-Met and its ligand HGF/SF, ezrin, and splice variants of CD44 have independently been identified as tumor metastasis-associated proteins. We now show that these proteins cooperate. A CD44 isoform containing variant exon v6 sequences is strictly required for c-Met activation by HGF/SF in rat and human carcinoma cells, in established cell lines as well as in primary keratinocytes. CD44v6-deficient tumor cells were unable to activate c-Met unless they were transfected with a CD44v6-bearing isoform. Antibodies to two v6-encoded epitopes inhibited autophosphorylation of c-Met by interfering with the formation of a complex formed by c-Met, CD44v6, and HGF/SF. In addition, signal transduction from activated c-Met to MEK and Erk required the presence of the cytoplasmic tail of CD44 including a binding motif for ERM proteins. This suggests a role for ERM proteins and possibly their link to the cortical actin cytoskeleton in signal transfer.
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ABSTRACT: It has been hypothesized that carcinoma metastasis is initiated by a subpopulation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) found in the blood of patients. However, although the presence of CTCs is an indicator of poor prognosis in several carcinoma entities, the existence and phenotype of metastasis-initiating cells (MICs) among CTCs has not been experimentally demonstrated. Here we developed a xenograft assay and used it to show that primary human luminal breast cancer CTCs contain MICs that give rise to bone, lung and liver metastases in mice. These MIC-containing CTC populations expressed EPCAM, CD44, CD47 and MET. In a small cohort of patients with metastases, the number of EPCAM(+)CD44(+)CD47(+)MET(+) CTCs, but not of bulk EPCAM(+) CTCs, correlated with lower overall survival and increased number of metastasic sites. These data describe functional circulating MICs and associated markers, which may aid the design of better tools to diagnose and treat metastatic breast cancer.Nature Biotechnology 04/2013; · 32.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: CD44 isoforms act as coreceptors for the receptor tyrosine kinases c-Met and VEGFR-2. However, Cd44 knockout mice do not show overt phenotypes, in contrast to Met and Vegfr-2 knockout mice. We hypothesized that CD44 is being compensated for by another factor in Cd44 null mice. Using RNAi technology and blocking experiments with antibodies, peptides, and purified ectodomains, as well as overexpression studies, we identified intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) as a new coreceptor for c-Met in CD44-negative tumor cells and in primary hepatocytes obtained from Cd44 null mice. Most strikingly, after partial hepatectomy, CD44v6-specific antibodies inhibited liver cell proliferation and c-Met activation in wild-type mice, whereas ICAM-1-specific antibodies interfered with liver cell proliferation and c-Met activation in Cd44 knockout mice. These data show that ICAM-1 compensates for CD44v6 as a coreceptor for c-Met in Cd44 null mice. Compensation of proteins by members of the same family has been widely proposed to explain the lack of phenotype of several knockout mice. Our experiments demonstrate the functional substitution of a protein by a heterologous one in a knockout mouse.Molecular biology of the cell 06/2011; 22(15):2777-86. · 5.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence indicates that several types of solid tumor are hierarchically organized and sustained by a distinct population of cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs possess enhanced mechanisms of protection from stress induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) that render them resistant to chemo- and radiotherapy. Expression of CD44, especially variant isoforms (CD44v) of this major CSC marker, contributes to ROS defense through upregulation of the synthesis of reduced glutathione (GSH), the primary intracellular antioxidant. CD44v interacts with and stabilizes xCT, a subunit of the cystine-glutamate transporter xc(-), and thereby promotes cystine uptake for GSH synthesis. Given that cancer cells are often exposed to high levels of ROS during tumor progression, the ability to avoid the consequences of such exposure is required for cancer cell survival and propagation in vivo. CSCs, in which defense against ROS is enhanced by CD44v are thus thought to drive tumor growth, chemoresistance and metastasis. Therapy targeted to the CD44v-xCT system may therefore impair the ROS defense ability of CSCs and thereby sensitize them to currently available treatments.Oncogene advance online publication, 21 January 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.638.Oncogene 01/2013; · 8.56 Impact Factor