Gene Summary

Gene:CDC42; cell division cycle 42
Aliases: G25K, CDC42Hs
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a small GTPase of the Rho-subfamily, which regulates signaling pathways that control diverse cellular functions including cell morphology, migration, endocytosis and cell cycle progression. This protein is highly similar to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc 42, and is able to complement the yeast cdc42-1 mutant. The product of oncogene Dbl was reported to specifically catalyze the dissociation of GDP from this protein. This protein could regulate actin polymerization through its direct binding to Neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP), which subsequently activates Arp2/3 complex. Alternative splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants. Pseudogenes of this gene have been identified on chromosomes 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 20. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2013]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:cell division control protein 42 homolog
Source:NCBIAccessed: 17 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (96)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (17)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 17 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Phosphorylation
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • rho Guanine Nucleotide Dissociation Inhibitor alpha
  • Breast Cancer
  • MicroRNAs
  • Apoptosis
  • Western Blotting
  • Mutation
  • Down-Regulation
  • Chromosome 1
  • Protein Binding
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Lung Cancer
  • RNA Interference
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • CDC42
  • RHOB
  • siRNA
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Liver Cancer
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Messenger RNA
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • src-Family Kinases
  • RHOA
  • Cell Movement
  • rap1 GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Vimentin
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
Tag cloud generated 17 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CDC42 (cancer-related)

Xu SH, Huang JZ, Xu ML, et al.
ACK1 promotes gastric cancer epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis through AKT-POU2F1-ECD signalling.
J Pathol. 2015; 236(2):175-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Amplification of the activated Cdc42-associated kinase 1 (ACK1) gene is frequent in gastric cancer (GC). However, little is known about the clinical roles and molecular mechanisms of ACK1 abnormalities in GC. Here, we found that the ACK1 protein level and ACK1 phosphorylation at Tyr 284 were frequently elevated in GC and associated with poor patient survival. Ectopic ACK1 expression in GC cells induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and promoted migration and invasion in vitro, and metastasis in vivo; the depletion of ACK1 induced the opposite effects. We utilized SILAC quantitative proteomics to discover that the level of the cell cycle-related protein ecdysoneless homologue (ECD) was markedly altered by ACK1. Overexpression of ECD promoted EMT, migration, and invasion in GC, similar to the effects of ACK1 overexpression. Silencing of ECD completely blocked the augmentation of ACK1 overexpression-induced EMT, migration, and invasion. Mechanistically, ACK1 phosphorylated AKT at Thr 308 and Ser 473 and activated the AKT pathway to up-regulate the transcription factor POU2F1, which directly bound to the promoter region of its novel target gene ECD and thus regulated ECD expression in GC cells. Furthermore, the phosphorylation levels of AKT at Thr 308 and Ser 473 and POU2F1 and ECD levels were positively associated with ACK1 levels in clinical GC specimens. Collectively, we have demonstrated that ACK1 promotes EMT, migration, and invasion by activating AKT-POU2F1-ECD signalling in GC cells. ACK1 may be employed as a new prognostic factor and therapeutic target for GC.

Aissaoui H, Prévost C, Boucharaba A, et al.
MDA-9/syntenin is essential for factor VIIa-induced signaling, migration, and metastasis in melanoma cells.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(6):3333-48 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/02/2016 Related Publications
Melanoma differentiation associated gene-9 (MDA-9), also known as syntenin, is a novel gene that positively regulates cancer cell motility, invasion, and metastasis through distinct biochemical and signaling pathways, but how MDA-9/syntenin is regulated in response to signals with the extracellular environment and promotes tumor progression is unclear. We now demonstrate that MDA-9/syntenin is dramatically up-regulated by a combination of rFVIIa and factor F(X) in malignant melanoma. Induction of MDA-9/syntenin in melanoma was found to occur in a thrombin-independent signaling pathway and involves the PAR-1/c-Src/Rho GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42/c-Jun N-terminal kinase axis resulting in the activation of paxillin, NF-κB, and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2). MDA-9/syntenin physically interacts with c-Src through its PDZ binding motif following stimulation of melanoma cells with rFVIIa and FX. We also document that induction of this signaling pathway is required for TF·FVIIa·Xa-induced cell migration, invasion, and metastasis by melanoma cells. The present finding uncovers a novel role of MDA-9/syntenin as an important TF·FVIIa·Xa/PAR-1-regulated gene that initiates a signaling circuit essential for cell motility and invasion of metastatic melanoma. In these contexts, targeting TF·FVIIa·Xa and its relevant downstream targets such as MDA-9/syntenin, may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to control the evolution of neoplastic cells.

Yang T, Chen T, Li Y, et al.
Downregulation of miR-25 modulates non-small cell lung cancer cells by targeting CDC42.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(3):1903-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
The current study aims to investigate the fuctional role of miRNA-25 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to detect the expression of miR-25 in NSCLC cell lines and 11 pairs of human NSCLC and non-cancerous tissues. The inhibitor of miR-25 was stably transfected into NSCLC cell line A549 cells. Then the effects of downregulating miR-25 on cancer cell proliferation, cell cycle arrest, chemosensitivity to cisplatin, and growth of in vivo xenograft were investigated. Direct regulation of miR-25 on its target gene, cell division cycle 42 (CDC42), was examined by luciferase reporter assay, qRT-PCR and western blot. CDC42 was then upregulated in A549 cells to investigate its effect on miR-25-mediated NSCLC cell proliferation and cell cycle arrest. The expression of miR-25 in NSCLC cells or human tissues was significantly higher than that in normal lung cells or adjacent non-cancerous tissues, respectively. Downregulation of miR-25 markedly inhibited A549 cell proliferation, induced G1 cell cycle arrest, increased cisplatin sensitivity, and suppressed the growth of caner cell xenograft in vivo. CDC42 was confirmed to be the directly regulated by miR-25 in A549 cells. Upregulation of CDC42 in A549 cells rescued the inhibitory effect on proliferation and the G1 cell cycle arrest induced by miR-25 downregulation. Our study demonstrates miR-25, by targeting CDC42, is an important regulator in NSCLC.

Liu FY, Safdar J, Li ZN, et al.
CCR7 regulates cell migration and invasion through JAK2/STAT3 in metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:415375 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/02/2016 Related Publications
Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) frequently involves metastasis at diagnosis. Our previous research has demonstrated that CCR7 plays a key role in regulating SCCHN metastasis, and this process involves several molecules, such as PI3K/cdc42, pyk2, and Src. In this study, the goals are to identify whether JAK2/STAT3 also participates in CCR7's signal network, its relationship with other signal pathways, and its role in SCCHN cell invasion and migration. The results showed that stimulation of CCL19 could induce JAK2/STAT3 phosphorylation, which can be blocked by Src and pyk2 inhibitors. After activation, STAT3 was able to promote low expression of E-cadherin and had no effect on vimentin. This JAk2/STAT3 pathway not only mediated CCR7-induced cell migration but also mediated invasion speed. The immunohistochemistry results also showed that the phosphorylation of STAT3 was correlated with CCR7 expression in SCCHN, and CCR7 and STAT3 phosphorylation were all associated with lymph node metastasis. In conclusion, JAk2/STAT3 plays a key role in CCR7 regulating SCCHN metastasis.

Sun N, Ye L, Chang T, et al.
microRNA-195-Cdc42 axis acts as a prognostic factor of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(10):6871-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Previous studies observed the downregulation of microRNA (miR)-195 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissues, confirmed cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) as one target gene of miR-195, and demonstrated that miR-195 may act as a tumor suppressor in ESCC by regulating Cdc42 expression. This study aimed to explore the association of miR-195 and Cdc42 combined expression with clinicopathologic factors and prognosis.
METHODS: Expression of miR-195 and Cdc42 mRNA in 98 pairs of ESCC and paracancerous tissues were detected using real-time quantitative RT-PCR.
RESULTS: miR-195 downregulation and Cdc42 upregulation were both prevalent in ESCC tissues, and negatively correlated with each other. In addition, miR-195 expression negatively correlated with TNM stage (P=0.008) and lymphatic metastasis (P=0.022), while Cdc42 expression positively correlated with TNM stage (P=0.011) and tumor differentiation (P=0.024). Moreover, combined expression of miR-195 and Cdc42 (miR-195/Cdc42) was found to be prognostic indicators for progression-free survival and overall survival of ESCC patients both in univariate and multivariate analyses.
CONCLUSION: The main findings of this study indicate the involvement of miR-195-Cdc42 axis in the progression of ESCC and suggest that the combined aberrant expression of miR-195 and Cdc42 mRNA can serve as a promising unfavorable prognostic biomarker in ESCC.

Okamoto S, Jiang Y, Kawamura K, et al.
Zoledronic acid induces apoptosis and S-phase arrest in mesothelioma through inhibiting Rab family proteins and topoisomerase II actions.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1517 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/02/2016 Related Publications
Zoledronic acid (ZOL), a nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate, produced anti-tumor effects through apoptosis induction or S-phase arrest depending on human mesothelioma cells tested. An addition of isoprenoid, geranylgeraniol but not farnesol, negated these ZOL-induced effects, indicating that the ZOL-mediated effects were attributable to depletion of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphates which were substrates for prenylation processes of small guanine-nucleotide-binding regulatory proteins (small G proteins). ZOL-treated cells decreased a ratio of membrane to cytoplasmic fractions in RhoA, Cdc42 and Rab6 but less significantly Rac1 proteins, indicating that these proteins were possible targets for ZOL-induced actions. We further analyzed which small G proteins were responsible for the three ZOL-induced effects, caspase-mediated apoptosis, S-phase arrest and morphological changes, using inhibitors for respective small G proteins and siRNA for Cdc42. ZOL-induced apoptosis is due to insufficient prenylation of Rab proteins because an inhibitor of geranlygeranyl transferase II that was specific for Rab family proteins prenylation, but not others inhibitors, activated the same apoptotic pathways that ZOL did. ZOL suppressed an endogenous topoisomerase II activity, which was associated with apoptosis and S-phase arrest in respective cells because we detected the same cell cycle changes in etoposide-treated cells. Inhibitors for geranlygeranyl transferase I and for RhoA produced morphological changes and disrupted actin fiber structures, both of which were similar to those by ZOL treatments. These data demonstrated that anti-tumor effects by ZOL were attributable to inhibited functions of respective small G proteins and topoisomerase II activity, and suggested that cellular factors were involved in the differential cell cycle changes.

Bian L, Wang Y, Liu Q, et al.
Prediction of signaling pathways involved in enterovirus 71 infection by algorithm analysis based on miRNA profiles and their target genes.
Arch Virol. 2015; 160(1):173-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) causes major outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Host factors and signaling pathways exhibit important functions in the EV71 life cycle. We conducted algorithm analysis based on miRNA profiles and their target genes to identify the miRNAs and downstream signaling pathways involved in EV71 infection. The miRNA profiles of human rhabdomyosarcoma cells treated with interferon (IFN-)-α or IFN-γ were compared with those of cells infected with EV71. Genes targeted by differentially expressed miRNAs were identified and assigned to different signaling pathways according to public databases. The results showed that host miRNAs specifically responded to the viral infection and IFN treatment. Some miRNAs, including miR-124 and miR-491-3p, were regulated in opposite manners by the IFNs and EV71. Some signaling pathways regulated by both EV71 infection and IFN treatment were also predicted. These pathways included axon guidance, Wingless/Int1 (Wnt) signaling cascade, platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)/PDGF, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), transforming growth factor-beta receptor (TGF-βR)/TGF-β, SMAD2/3, insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), CDC42, ERB1, hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-Met), eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E), protein kinase A (PKA), and IFN-γ pathways. The identified miRNA and downstream signaling pathways would help to elucidate the interaction between the virus and the host. The genomics method using algorithm analysis also provided a new way to investigate the host factors and signaling pathways critical for viral replication.

Zhang D, Zhang JY, Wang EH
δ-catenin promotes the malignant phenotype in breast cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(2):569-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
δ-Catenin is a member of the p120 catenin family. Similar to p120ctn, δ-catenin contains nine central Armadillo repeats and binds to the juxtamembrane domain (JMD) of E-cadherin. We used immunohistochemistry to detect δ-catenin expression in breast carcinoma (128 cases), and δ-catenin mRNA and protein expression was detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting (45 cases). The effects of δ-catenin on the activity of small GTPases and the biological behavior of breast cancer cells were explored by pulldown, flow cytometry, methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium, and Matrigel invasion assays. The results showed that δ-catenin expression increased in breast cancer tissues and was associated with a higher degree of malignancy (invasive lobular breast cancer, high tumor-node-metastasis stage, lymph node metastasis, and C-erbB-2+) and poor prognosis. Postoperative survival was shorter in patients with δ-catenin-positive expression than in patients with negative expression. δ-Catenin may regulate Cdc42/Rac1 activity, promote proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells, and alter cell cycle progression. We conclude that δ-catenin tends to overexpress in breast carcinoma and promotes the malignant phenotype.

Liu FY, Safdar J, Li ZN, et al.
CCR7 regulates cell migration and invasion through MAPKs in metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(6):2502-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Migration and invasion of tumor cells are essential prerequisites for the formation of metastasis in malignant diseases. Previously, we have reported that CC chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7) regulates the mobility of squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (SCCHN) cells through several pathways, such as integrin and cdc42. In this study, we investigated the connection between CCR7 and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family members, and their influence on cell invasion and migration in metastatic SCCHN cells. Western blotting, immunostaining and fluorescence microcopy were used to detect the protein expression and distribution of MAPKs, and the Migration assay, Matrigel invasion assay and wound-healing assay to detect the role of MAPKs in CCR7 regulating cell mobility. To analyze the correlation between CCR7 and MAPK activity and clinicopathological factors immunohistochemical staining was emplyed. The results showed stimulation of CCL19 and the activation of CCR7 could induce ERK1/2 and JNK phosphorylation, while it had no efect on p38. After activation, ERK1/2 and JNK promoted E-cadherin low expression and Vimentin high expression. The MAPK pathway not only mediated CCR7 induced cell migration, but also mediated invasion speed. The immunohistochemistry results showed that CCR7 was correlated with the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and JNK in SCCHN, and these molecules were all associated with lymph node metastasis. Therefore, our study demonstrates that MAPK members (ERK1/2 and JNK) play a key role in CCR7 regulating SCCHN metastasis.

Baschieri F, Confalonieri S, Bertalot G, et al.
Spatial control of Cdc42 signalling by a GM130-RasGRF complex regulates polarity and tumorigenesis.
Nat Commun. 2014; 5:4839 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/02/2016 Related Publications
The small GTPase Cdc42 is a key regulator of polarity, but little is known in mammals about its spatial regulation and the relevance of spatial Cdc42 pools for polarity. Here we report the identification of a GM130-RasGRF complex as a regulator of Cdc42 at the Golgi. Silencing GM130 results in RasGRF-dependent inhibition of the Golgi pool of Cdc42, but does not affect Cdc42 at the cell surface. Furthermore, active Cdc42 at the Golgi is important to sustain asymmetric front-rear Cdc42-GTP distribution in directionally migrating cells. Concurrent to Cdc42 inhibition, silencing GM130 also results in RasGRF-dependent Ras-ERK pathway activation. Moreover, depletion of GM130 is sufficient to induce E-cadherin downregulation, indicative of a loss in cell polarity and epithelial identity. Accordingly, GM130 expression is frequently lost in colorectal and breast cancer patients. These findings establish a previously unrecognized role for a GM130-RasGRF-Cdc42 connection in regulating polarity and tumorigenesis.

Rolland Y, Marighetti P, Malinverno C, et al.
The CDC42-interacting protein 4 controls epithelial cell cohesion and tumor dissemination.
Dev Cell. 2014; 30(5):553-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
The role of endocytic proteins and the molecular mechanisms underlying epithelial cell cohesion and tumor dissemination are not well understood. Here, we report that the endocytic F-BAR-containing CDC42-interacting protein 4 (CIP4) is required for ERBB2- and TGF-β1-induced cell scattering, breast cancer (BC) cell motility and invasion into 3D matrices, and conversion from ductal breast carcinoma in situ to invasive carcinoma in mouse xenograft models. CIP4 promotes the formation of an E-cadherin-CIP4-SRC complex that controls SRC activation, E-cadherin endocytosis, and localized phosphorylation of the myosin light chain kinase, thereby impinging on the actomyosin contractility required to generate tangential forces to break cell-cell junctions. CIP4 is upregulated in ERBB2-positive human BC, correlates with increased distant metastasis, and is an independent predictor of poor disease outcome in subsets of BC patients. Thus, it critically controls cell-cell cohesion and is required for the acquisition of an invasive phenotype in breast tumors.

Li YY, Zhou CX, Gao Y
Snail regulates the motility of oral cancer cells via RhoA/Cdc42/p-ERM pathway.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 452(3):490-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transcriptional factor Snail has been reported to possess properties related to cancer progression; however, the mechanism for it is not fully understood. Our data showed that Snail knockdown by small interfering RNA in two OSCC cell lines, WSU-HN6 and CAL27, significantly inhibited cell migration and invasion which also resulted in decreased cell motility, such as impaired cell spreading on type I collagen substrate, reduced filopodia, and premature assembly of stress fibers. In addition, Snail-silencing decreased Cdc42 activity but increased RhoA activity, accompanied by the downregulation in both p-ERM expression and cell motility. Meanwhile, endogenous p-ERM was found specifically co-precipitated with activated Cdc42, but not RhoA, and this co-association was decreased by Snail-silencing. The small molecule inhibitors of Rho-associated kinase (Y27632) markedly enhanced Cdc42 activity and the association of p-ERM with activated Cdc42, increasing cell motility remarkably. Using immunohistochemistry, Snail and p-ERM overexpressions were found in OSCC tissues correlated with nodal metastasis and shorter survival. Taken together, these results demonstrate that Snail regulates cell motility through RhoA/Cdc42/p-ERM pathway and may serve as a biomarker to predict prognosis for OSCC patients. Although RhoA and Cdc42 are concurrently regulated downstream of Snail, there is a direct interplay between them, which indicates RhoA has to be inactivated at some point in cell motility cycle.

Cheng Z, Liu F, Wang G, et al.
miR-133 is a key negative regulator of CDC42-PAK pathway in gastric cancer.
Cell Signal. 2014; 26(12):2667-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cell division cycle 42 (CDC42), an important member of the Ras homolog (Rho) family, plays a key role in regulating multiple cellular processes such as cell cycle progression, migration, cell cytoskeleton organization, cell fate determination and differentiation. Among the downstream effectors of CDC42, P21-activated kinases (PAKs) obtain the most attention. Although a large body of evidence indicates that CDC42/PAKs pathway plays important role in tumor growth, invasion and metastasis, the mechanism of their negative regulation remains unclear. Here, we identified CDC42, a PAKs activating factor, was a target of miR-133. Ectopic overexpression of miRNAs not only downregulated CDC42 expression and PAKs activation, but also inhibited cancer cell proliferation and migration. We also found that miR-133 was down-regulated in 180 pairs gastric cancer tissues. miR-133 expression was negatively associated with tumor size, invasion depth and peripheral organ metastasis. Besides, dysfunction of miR-133 was an independent prognosis factor for overall survival. Our findings could provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of gastric carcinogenesis, and may help facilitating development of CDC42/PAK-based therapies for human cancer.

Liao WY, Ho CC, Hou HH, et al.
Heparin co-factor II enhances cell motility and promotes metastasis in non-small cell lung cancer.
J Pathol. 2015; 235(1):50-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Using the Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) database from the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, we identified heparin co-factor II (HCII), which is over-expressed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we investigated the clinical significance of HCII and provided molecular evidence to support the suggestion that HCII could enhance cancer metastasis in NSCLC. We found that high HCII expression in tumour tissue was associated with increased cancer recurrence and shorter overall survival times in 75 clinically operable NSCLC patients. High pretreatment plasma concentration of HCII was associated with reduced overall survival in 57 consecutive NSCLC patients. We over-expressed and knocked down HCII expression in lung cancer cell lines and confirmed that HCII could promote cell motility, invasion ability and filopodium dynamics in NSCLC cells in vitro and increased metastatic colonization in an in vivo mouse model. Exogenous treatment of HCII promoted cancer cell migration, and this promigratory effect of HCII was independent of thrombin. We further showed that HCII could up-regulate cancer cell migration through the activation of PI3K, which acts upstream of Rac1 and Cdc42, and this effect could be blocked by heparin. We suggest that HCII is a novel metastasis enhancer and may be used as a prognostic predictor for heparin treatment in NSCLC.

Sakamori R, Yu S, Zhang X, et al.
CDC42 inhibition suppresses progression of incipient intestinal tumors.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(19):5480-92 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Mutations in the APC or β-catenin genes are well-established initiators of colorectal cancer, yet modifiers that facilitate the survival and progression of nascent tumor cells are not well defined. Using genetic and pharmacologic approaches in mouse colorectal cancer and human colorectal cancer xenograft models, we show that incipient intestinal tumor cells activate CDC42, an APC-interacting small GTPase, as a crucial step in malignant progression. In the mouse, Cdc42 ablation attenuated the tumorigenicity of mutant intestinal cells carrying single APC or β-catenin mutations. Similarly, human colorectal cancer with relatively higher levels of CDC42 activity was particularly sensitive to CDC42 blockade. Mechanistic studies suggested that Cdc42 may be activated at different levels, including at the level of transcriptional activation of the stem cell-enriched Rho family exchange factor Arhgef4. Our results indicate that early-stage mutant intestinal epithelial cells must recruit the pleiotropic functions of Cdc42 for malignant progression, suggesting its relevance as a biomarker and therapeutic target for selective colorectal cancer intervention.

Su YF, Liang CY, Huang CY, et al.
A putative novel protein, DEPDC1B, is overexpressed in oral cancer patients, and enhanced anchorage-independent growth in oral cancer cells that is mediated by Rac1 and ERK.
J Biomed Sci. 2014; 21:67 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The DEP domain is a globular domain containing approximately 90 amino acids, which was first discovered in 3 proteins: Drosophila disheveled, Caenorhabditis elegans EGL-10, and mammalian Pleckstrin; hence the term, DEP. DEPDC1B is categorized as a potential Rho GTPase-activating protein. The function of the DEP domain in signal transduction pathways is not fully understood. The DEPDC1B protein exhibits the characteristic features of a signaling protein, and contains 2 conserved domains (DEP and RhoGAP) that are involved in Rho GTPase signaling. Small GTPases, such as Rac, CDC42, and Rho, regulate a multitude of cell events, including cell motility, growth, differentiation, cytoskeletal reorganization and cell cycle progression.
RESULTS: In this study, we found that it was a guanine nucleotide exchange factor and induced both cell migration in a cultured embryonic fibroblast cell line and cell invasion in cancer cell lines; moreover, it was observed to promote anchorage-independent growth in oral cancer cells. We also demonstrated that DEPDC1B plays a role in regulating Rac1 translocated onto cell membranes, suggesting that DEPDC1B exerts a biological function by regulating Rac1. We examined oral cancer tissue; 6 out of 7 oral cancer tissue test samples overexpressed DEPDC1B proteins, compared with normal adjacent tissue.
CONCLUSIONS: DEPDC1B was a guanine nucleotide exchange factor and induced both cell migration in a cultured embryonic fibroblast cell line and cell invasion in cancer cell lines; moreover, it was observed to promote anchorage-independent growth in oral cancer cells. We also demonstrated that DEPDC1B exerts a biological function by regulating Rac1. We found that oral cancer samples overexpressed DEPDC1B proteins, compared with normal adjacent tissue. Suggest that DEPDC1B plays a role in the development of oral cancer. We revealed that proliferation was linked to a novel DEPDC1B-Rac1-ERK1/2 signaling axis in oral cancer cell lines.

Han K, Zhou Y, Gan ZH, et al.
p21-activated kinase 7 is an oncogene in human osteosarcoma.
Cell Biol Int. 2014; 38(12):1394-402 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
p21-activated kinase 7 (PAK7), also named as PAK5, is a member of Rac/Cdc42-associated Ser/Thr protein kinases. It is overexpressed in some types of cancer such as colorectal and pancreatic cancers. However, the expression status and biological function of PAK7 in osteosarcoma are still ambiguous. To evaluate the expression levels of PAK7 in osteosarcoma tissues and cell lines, immunohistochemistry was used. To investigate the role of PAK7 in cell proliferation, apoptosis and tumorigenicity in vitro and vivo, a recombinant lentivirus expressing PAK7 short hairpin RNA (Lv-shPAK7) was developed and transfected into Saos-2 cells. The silencing effect of PAK7 was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot technique. PAK7 was overexpressed in osteosarcoma tissue and cell line. By knocking-down of PAK7, the proliferation and colony formation of Saos-2 cells were inhibited and apoptosis enhanced significantly. The in vivo tumorigenic ability in xenograft model of Saos-2 cells was also notably inhibited when PAK7 was knocked down. Our results imply that PAK7 promotes cell proliferation and tumorigenesis and may be an attractive candidate for the therapeutic target of osteosarcoma.

Lin CW, Sun MS, Liao MY, et al.
Podocalyxin-like 1 promotes invadopodia formation and metastasis through activation of Rac1/Cdc42/cortactin signaling in breast cancer cells.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(11):2425-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metastatic disease is the leading cause of cancer mortality. Identifying biomarkers and regulatory mechanisms is important toward developing diagnostic and therapeutic tools against metastatic cancer. In this study, we demonstrated that podocalyxin-like 1 (PODXL) is overexpressed in breast tumor cells and increased in lymph node metastatic cancer. Mechanistically, we found that the expression of PODXL was associated with cell motility and invasiveness. Suppression of PODXL in MDA-MB-231 cells reduced lamellipodia formation and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and paxillin phosphorylation. PODXL knockdown reduced the formation of invadopodia, such as inhibiting the colocalization of F-actin with cortactin and suppressing phosphorylation of cortactin and neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein. Conversely, overexpression of PODXL in MCF7 cells induced F-actin/cortactin colocalization and enhanced invadopodia formation and activation. Invadopodia activity and tumor invasion in PODXL-knockdown cells are similar to that in cortactin-knockdown cells. We further found that the DTHL motif in PODXL is crucial for regulating cortactin phosphorylation and Rac1/Cdc42 activation. Inhibition of Rac1/Cdc42 impeded PODXL-mediated cortactin activation and FAK and paxillin phosphorylation. Moreover, inhibition of PODXL in MDA-MB-231 cells significantly suppressed tumor colonization in the lungs and distant metastases, similar to those in cortactin-knockdown cells. These findings show that overexpression of PODXL enhanced invadopodia formation and tumor metastasis by inducing Rac1/Cdc42/cortactin signaling network.

Xu Y, Zhang H, Lit LC, et al.
The kinase LMTK3 promotes invasion in breast cancer through GRB2-mediated induction of integrin β₁.
Sci Signal. 2014; 7(330):ra58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lemur tyrosine kinase 3 (LMTK3) is associated with cell proliferation and endocrine resistance in breast cancer. We found that, in cultured breast cancer cell lines, LMTK3 promotes the development of a metastatic phenotype by inducing the expression of genes encoding integrin subunits. Invasive behavior in various breast cancer cell lines positively correlated with the abundance of LMTK3. Overexpression of LMTK3 in a breast cancer cell line with low endogenous LMTK3 abundance promoted actin cytoskeleton remodeling, focal adhesion formation, and adhesion to collagen and fibronectin in culture. Using SILAC (stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture) proteomic analysis, we found that LMTK3 increased the abundance of integrin subunits α5 and β1, encoded by ITGA5 and ITGB1. This effect depended on the CDC42 Rho family guanosine triphosphatase, which was in turn activated by the interaction between LMTK3 and growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (GRB2), an adaptor protein that mediates receptor tyrosine kinase-induced activation of RAS and downstream signaling. Knockdown of GRB2 suppressed LMTK3-induced CDC42 activation, blocked ITGA5 and ITGB1 expression promoted by the transcription factor serum response factor (SRF), and reduced invasive activity. Furthermore, abundance of LMTK3 positively correlated with that of the integrin β1 subunit in breast cancer patient's tumors. Our findings suggest a role for LMTK3 in promoting integrin activity during breast cancer progression and metastasis.

Mo Y, Hou H, Li D, et al.
Mitochondrial protein targets of radiosensitisation by 1,8-dihydroxy-3-acetyl-6-methyl-9,10 anthraquinone on nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2014; 738:133-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
In our preliminary study, 1,8-dihydroxy-3-acetyl-6-methyl-9,10 anthraquinone (GXHSWAQ-1), synthesised according to the basic structure of emodin, exhibited a 1.58-fold radiosensitisation on nasopharyngeal carcinoma CNE-1 cells. This study demonstrated that its radiosensitisation activity was achieved by altering the mitochondrial structure: swollen volume, fragmented crista, and decreasing transmembrane potential (P<0.01). Using isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) technology, 1396 proteins were identified, and the differentially expressed proteins were involved in metabolism, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, DNA repair process according to the biological process clustering results. Bioinformatic analysis showed that CDH1, RAC1, CDC42 proteins might be mostly mitochondrial targets in the radiosensitisation process. Western blotting analyses verified the differential expression of these proteins.

Xiao Y, Lin VY, Ke S, et al.
14-3-3τ promotes breast cancer invasion and metastasis by inhibiting RhoGDIα.
Mol Cell Biol. 2014; 34(14):2635-49 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
14-3-3τ is frequently overexpressed in breast cancer; however, whether it contributes to breast cancer progression remains undetermined. Here, we identify a critical role for 14-3-3τ in promoting breast cancer metastasis, in part through binding to and inhibition of RhoGDIα, a negative regulator of Rho GTPases and a metastasis suppressor. 14-3-3τ binds Ser174-phosphorylated RhoGDIα and blocks its association with Rho GTPases, thereby promoting epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced RhoA, Rac1, and Cdc42 activation. When 14-3-3τ is overexpressed in MCF7 breast cancer cells that express 14-3-3τ at low levels, it increases motility, reduces adhesion, and promotes metastasis in mammary fat pad xenografts. On the other hand, depletion of 14-3-3τ in MCF7 cells and in an invasive cell line, MDA-MB231, inhibits Rho GTPase activation and blocks breast cancer migration and invasion. Moreover, 14-3-3τ overexpression in human breast tumors is associated with the activation of ROCK (a Rho GTPase effector), high metastatic rate, and shorter survival, underscoring a clinically significant role for 14-3-3τ in breast cancer progression. Our work indicates that 14-3-3τ is a novel therapeutic target to prevent breast cancer metastasis.

Ke TW, Hsu HL, Wu YH, et al.
MicroRNA-224 suppresses colorectal cancer cell migration by targeting Cdc42.
Dis Markers. 2014; 2014:617150 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
The metastatic spread of tumor cells is the major risk factor affecting the clinical prognosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. The metastatic phenotype can be modulated by dysregulating the synthesis of different structural and functional proteins of tumor cells. Micro(mi)RNAs are noncoding RNAs that recognize their cognate messenger (m)RNA targets by sequence-specific interactions with the 3' untranslated region and are involved in the multistep process of CRC development. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression and biological roles of miR-224 in CRC. The miR-224 expression level was assessed by a quantitative real-time PCR in 79 CRC and 18 nontumor tissues. Expression levels of miR-224 in CRC tissues were significantly lower than those in nontumor tissues. Its expression level was associated with the mutation status of the APC gene. Ectopic expression of miR-224 suppressed the migratory ability of CRC cell line, but cell proliferation was less affected. Increased miR-224 diminished Cdc42 and SMAD4 expressions at both the protein and mRNA levels and inhibited the formation of actin filaments. Overall, this study indicated a role of miR-224 in negatively regulating CRC cell migration. The expression level of miR-224 may be a useful predictive biomarker for CRC progression.

Li M, Tian L, Yao H, et al.
ASAP1 mediates the invasive phenotype of human laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma to affect survival prognosis.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(6):2676-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
ASAP1 helps regulate cellular structures such as actin cytoskeletal remodeling and focal adhesions that have a pivotal function in tumor progression. Overexpression of ASAP1 has proven to be a malignant indicator for a variety of tumors. To further determine the potential involvement of ASAP1 in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC), we evaluated the expression levels of ASAP1 by quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry in tissue samples of 64 LSCC patients. We then analyzed and correlated the results with clinicopathological features. Furthermore, we used small interfering RNA (siRNA) to inhibit ASAP1 expression in vitro. The potential function of ASAP1 in invasiveness was evaluated in the Hep-2 LSCC cell line. Kaplan-Meier method was utilized to determine the association of ASAP1 expression with survival of patients. We showed that ASAP1 was upregulated in primary LSCC tumors and was correlated with lymph node metastasis and clinical tumor stage. Similarly, higher levels of ASAP1 were detected in the Hep-2 cell line compared to the 16 human bronchial epithelial (16HBE) cell line. ASAP1 expression was downregulated by lentiviral vector transfection containing siRNA in vitro. The invasive potential of these cells was found to be significantly suppressed, while expression levels of Rac1 and Cdc42 positively correlated with the inhibition of ASAP1 expression. In Kaplan-Meier overall survival curves, higher ASAP1 mRNA levels were found to be associated with a shorter progression-free survival trend. Based on these results, ASAP1 appears to contribute to the malignant mechanism of LSCC and may represent a significant prognostic marker for LSCC patients.

Ekström EJ, Bergenfelz C, von Bülow V, et al.
WNT5A induces release of exosomes containing pro-angiogenic and immunosuppressive factors from malignant melanoma cells.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:88 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Wnt proteins are important for developmental processes and certain diseases. WNT5A is a non-canonical Wnt protein that previously has been shown to play a role in the progression of malignant melanoma. High expression of WNT5A in melanoma tumors correlates to formation of distant metastasis and poor prognosis. This has partly been described by the findings that WNT5A expression in melanoma cell lines increases migration and invasion.
METHODS: Malignant melanoma cell lines were treated with rWNT5A or WNT5A siRNA, and mRNA versus protein levels of soluble mediators were measured using RT-PCR, cytokine bead array and ELISA. The induced signaling pathways were analyzed using inhibitors, Rho-GTPase pull down assays and western blot. Ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy was used to analyze microvesicles. Gene expression microarray data obtained from primary malignant melanomas was used to verify our data.
RESULTS: We show that WNT5A signaling induces a Ca2+-dependent release of exosomes containing the immunomodulatory and pro-angiogenic proteins IL-6, VEGF and MMP2 in melanoma cells. The process was independent of the transcriptional machinery and depletion of WNT5A reduced the levels of the exosome-derived proteins. The WNT5A induced exosomal secretion was neither affected by Tetanus toxin nor Brefeldin A, but was blocked by the calcium chelator Bapta, inhibited by a dominant negative version of the small Rho-GTPase Cdc42 and was accompanied by cytoskeletal reorganization. Co-cultures of melanoma/endothelial cells showed that depletion of WNT5A in melanoma cells decreased endothelial cell branching, while stimulation of endothelial cells with isolated rWNT5A-induced melanoma exosomes increased endothelial cell branching in vitro. Finally, gene expression data analysis of primary malignant melanomas revealed a correlation between WNT5A expression and the angiogenesis marker ESAM.
CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that WNT5A has a broader function on tumor progression and metastatic spread than previously known; by inducing exosome-release of immunomodulatory and pro-angiogenic factors that enhance the immunosuppressive and angiogenic capacity of the tumors thus rendering them more aggressive and more prone to metastasize.

Goh G, Scholl UI, Healy JM, et al.
Recurrent activating mutation in PRKACA in cortisol-producing adrenal tumors.
Nat Genet. 2014; 46(6):613-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Adrenal tumors autonomously producing cortisol cause Cushing's syndrome. We performed exome sequencing of 25 tumor-normal pairs and identified 2 subgroups. Eight tumors (including three carcinomas) had many somatic copy number variants (CNVs) with frequent deletion of CDC42 and CDKN2A, amplification of 5q31.2 and protein-altering mutations in TP53 and RB1. Seventeen tumors (all adenomas) had no somatic CNVs or TP53 or RB1 mutations. Six of these had known gain-of-function mutations in CTNNB1 (β-catenin) or GNAS (Gαs). Six others had somatic mutations in PRKACA (protein kinase A (PKA) catalytic subunit) resulting in a p.Leu206Arg substitution. Further sequencing identified this mutation in 13 of 63 tumors (35% of adenomas with overt Cushing's syndrome). PRKACA, GNAS and CTNNB1 mutations were mutually exclusive. Leu206 directly interacts with the regulatory subunit of PKA, PRKAR1A. Leu206Arg PRKACA loses PRKAR1A binding, increasing the phosphorylation of downstream targets. PKA activity induces cortisol production and cell proliferation, providing a mechanism for tumor development. These findings define distinct mechanisms underlying adrenal cortisol-producing tumors.

Rane CK, Minden A
P21 activated kinases: structure, regulation, and functions.
Small GTPases. 2014; 5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
The p21 activated kinases (Paks) are well known effector proteins for the Rho GTPases Cdc42 and Rac. The Paks contain 6 members, which fall into 2 families of proteins. The first family consists of Paks 1, 2, and 3, and the second consists of Paks 4, 5, and 6. While some of the Paks are ubiquitously expressed, others have more restrictive tissue specificity. All of them are found in the nervous system. Studies using cell culture, transgenic mice, and knockout mice, have revealed important roles for the Paks in cytoskeletal organization and in many aspects of cell growth and development. This review discusses the basic structures of the Paks, and their roles in cell growth, development, and in cancer.

Krook MA, Nicholls LA, Scannell CA, et al.
Stress-induced CXCR4 promotes migration and invasion of ewing sarcoma.
Mol Cancer Res. 2014; 12(6):953-64 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Ewing sarcoma is the second most common bone cancer in pediatric patients. Although the primary cause of death in Ewing sarcoma is metastasis, the mechanism underlying tumor spread needs to be elucidated. To this end, the role of the CXCR4/SDF-1a chemokine axis as a mediator of Ewing sarcoma metastasis was investigated. CXCR4 expression status was measured in primary tumor specimens by immunohistochemical staining and in multiple cell lines by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and flow cytometry. Migration and invasion of CXCR4-positive Ewing sarcoma cells toward CXCL12/SDF-1a were also determined. Interestingly, while CXCR4 status was disparate among Ewing sarcoma cells, ranging from absent to high-level expression, its expression was found to be highly dynamic and responsive to changes in the microenvironment. In particular, upregulation of CXCR4 occurred in cells that were subjected to growth factor deprivation, hypoxia, and space constraints. This upregulation of CXCR4 was rapidly reversed upon removal of the offending cellular stress conditions. Functionally, CXCR4-positive cells migrated and invaded toward an SDF-1a gradient and these aggressive properties were impeded by both the CXCR4 small-molecule inhibitor AMD3100, and by knockdown of CXCR4. In addition, CXCR4-dependent migration and invasion were inhibited by small-molecule inhibitors of Cdc42 and Rac1, mechanistically implicating these Rho-GTPases as downstream mediators of the CXCR4-dependent phenotype.
IMPLICATIONS: This study reveals the highly plastic and dynamic nature of CXCR4 expression in Ewing sarcoma and supports a model in which stress-induced upregulation of CXCR4 contributes to tumor metastasis to lung and bone marrow, which express high levels of SDF-1a.

Hanna S, Khalil B, Nasrallah A, et al.
StarD13 is a tumor suppressor in breast cancer that regulates cell motility and invasion.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(5):1499-511 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women around the world. In general, the more aggressive the tumor, the more rapidly it grows and the more likely it metastasizes. Members of the Rho subfamily of small GTP-binding proteins (GTPases) play a central role in breast cancer cell motility and metastasis. The switch between active GTP-bound and inactive GDP-bound state is regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) and guanine-nucleotide dissociation inhibitors (GDIs). We studied the role of StarD13, a recently identified Rho-GAP that specifically inhibits the function of RhoA and Cdc42. We aimed to investigate its role in breast cancer proliferation and metastasis. The levels of expression of this Rho-GAP in tumor tissues of different grades were assayed using immunohistochemistry. We observed that, while the level of StarD13 expression decreases in cancer tissues compared to normal tissues, it increases as the grade of the tumor increased. This was consistent with the fact that although StarD13 was indeed a tumor suppressor in our breast cancer cells, as seen by its effect on cell proliferation, it was needed for cancer cell motility. In fact, StarD13 knockdown resulted in an inhibition of cell motility and cells were not able to detach their tail and move forward. Our study describes, for the first time, a tumor suppressor that plays a positive role in cancer motility.

Saigusa S, Tanaka K, Mohri Y, et al.
Clinical significance of RacGAP1 expression at the invasive front of gastric cancer.
Gastric Cancer. 2015; 18(1):84-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rac GTPase activating protein 1 (RacGAP1) plays a regulatory role in cell growth, transformation and metastasis. The aim of this study was to clarify the association between RacGAP1 expression and clinical outcome in patients with gastric cancer.
METHODS: A total of 232 gastric cancer patients in our institute who underwent surgery without preoperative treatments were enrolled in this study. We investigated RacGAP1 expression using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and evaluated IHC scores calculated by the percentage of positive cells and intensity and its expression at the invasive front. RACGAP1 expression was also assessed.
RESULTS: RacGAP1 expression was observed in the nuclei of gastric cancer cells. Evaluation by IHC score showed no significant correlations with clinicopathological variables except for histological differentiation. In transcriptional analyses, RACGAP1 expression was elevated in diffuse type gastric cancer than intestinal type without a significant difference. We observed significant correlations of RacGAP1 protein expression at the invasive front with older age, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, lymphatic invasion, vascular invasion and advanced stage. Patients with RacGAP1 protein expression at the invasive front had significantly poorer prognosis than those without it (P < 0.0001). In multivariate analysis, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis and positive RacGAP1 expression at the invasive front were independent prognostic factors (lymph node metastasis: P = 0.0106; distant metastasis: P = 0.0012; RacGAP1: P = 0.0011).
CONCLUSIONS: RacGAP1 expression at the invasive front in gastric cancer was significantly correlated with factors reflecting tumor progression and poor prognosis. Our data suggest that RacGAP1 might play important roles in the progression of gastric cancer.

Ma L, Deng X, Wu M, et al.
Down-regulation of miRNA-204 by LMP-1 enhances CDC42 activity and facilitates invasion of EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells.
FEBS Lett. 2014; 588(9):1562-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nasopharayngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated malignancy. It is known that microRNAs are implicated in the progression of NPC. However, the role of miR-204 in NPC is poorly understood. In this study, we found that miR-204 was down-regulated in NPC cells and tissues. Low-level expression of miR-204 was significantly associated with a more aggressive and poor prognostic phenotype of NPC. We further found that EBV-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1) suppressed miR-204 expression by activating Stat-3. Cdc42 was identified as a direct target of miR-204. Mir-204 inhibited EBV positive C666-1 cell invasion and metastasis partly through targeting cdc42.

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