ABSTRACT: Malignant glioblastomas are characterized by their ability to infiltrate into normal brain. We previously reported that binding of the multifunctional cytokine TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) to its receptor fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14) induces glioblastoma cell invasion via Rac1 activation. Here, we show that Cdc42 plays an essential role in Fn14-mediated activation of Rac1. TWEAK-treated glioma cells display an increased activation of Cdc42, and depletion of Cdc42 using siRNA abolishes TWEAK-induced Rac1 activation and abrogates glioma cell migration and invasion. In contrast, Rac1 depletion does not affect Cdc42 activation by Fn14, showing that Cdc42 mediates TWEAK-stimulated Rac1 activation. Furthermore, we identified two guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEF), Ect2 and Trio, involved in TWEAK-induced activation of Cdc42 and Rac1, respectively. Depletion of Ect2 abrogates both TWEAK-induced Cdc42 and Rac1 activation, as well as subsequent TWEAK-Fn14-directed glioma cell migration and invasion. In contrast, Trio depletion inhibits TWEAK-induced Rac1 activation but not TWEAK-induced Cdc42 activation. Finally, inappropriate expression of Fn14 or Ect2 in mouse astrocytes in vivo using an RCAS vector system for glial-specific gene transfer in G-tva transgenic mice induces astrocyte migration within the brain, corroborating the in vitro importance of the TWEAK-Fn14 signaling cascade in glioblastoma invasion. Our results suggest that the TWEAK-Fn14 signaling axis stimulates glioma cell migration and invasion through two GEF-GTPase signaling units, Ect2-Cdc42 and Trio-Rac1. Components of the Fn14-Rho GEF-Rho GTPase signaling pathway present innovative drug targets for glioma therapy.
Molecular Cancer Research 05/2012; 10(7):958-68. · 4.29 Impact Factor