p38γ promotes breast cancer cell motility and metastasis through regulation of RhoC GTPase, cytoskeletal architecture, and a novel leading edge behavior.
ABSTRACT Understanding the molecular alterations that confer cancer cells with motile, metastatic properties is needed to improve patient survival. Here, we report that p38γ motogen-activated protein kinase regulates breast cancer cell motility and metastasis, in part, by controlling expression of the metastasis-associated small GTPase RhoC. This p38γ-RhoC regulatory connection was mediated by a novel mechanism of modulating RhoC ubiquitination. This relationship persisted across multiple cell lines and in clinical breast cancer specimens. Using a computational mechanical model based on the finite element method, we showed that p38γ-mediated cytoskeletal changes are sufficient to control cell motility. This model predicted novel dynamics of leading edge actin protrusions, which were experimentally verified and established to be closely related to cell shape and cytoskeletal morphology. Clinical relevance was supported by evidence that elevated expression of p38γ is associated with lower overall survival of patients with breast cancer. Taken together, our results offer a detailed characterization of how p38γ contributes to breast cancer progression. Herein we present a new mechanics-based analysis of cell motility, and report on the discovery of a leading edge behavior in motile cells to accommodate modified cytoskeletal architecture. In summary, these findings not only identify a novel mechanism for regulating RhoC expression but also advance p38γ as a candidate therapeutic target.
New England Journal of Medicine 05/2004; 350(14):1430-41. · 53.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are important signal transducing enzymes, unique to eukaryotes, that are involved in many facets of cellular regulation. Initial research concentrated on defining the components and organization of MAPK signalling cascades, but recent studies have begun to shed light on the physiological functions of these cascades in the control of gene expression, cell proliferation and programmed cell death.Nature 04/2001; 410(6824):37-40. · 36.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mammalian p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are activated by a wide range of cellular stresses as well as in response to inflammatory cytokines. There are four members of the p38MAPK family (p38alpha, p38beta, p38gamma and p38delta) which are about 60% identical in their amino acid sequence but differ in their expression patterns, substrate specificities and sensitivities to chemical inhibitors such as SB203580. A large body of evidences indicates that p38MAPK activity is critical for normal immune and inflammatory response. The p38MAPK pathway is a key regulator of pro-inflammatory cytokines biosynthesis at the transcriptional and translational levels, which makes different components of this pathway potential targets for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. However, recent studies have shed light on the broad effect of p38MAPK activation in the control of many other aspects of the physiology of the cell, such as control of cell cycle or cytoskeleton remodelling. Here we focus on these emergent roles of p38MAPKs and their implication in different pathologies.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 09/2007; 1773(8):1358-75. · 4.66 Impact Factor