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Am J Pathol. 2007 Nov;171(5):1640-9. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

Myosin II co-chaperone general cell UNC-45 overexpression is associated with ovarian cancer, rapid proliferation, and motility.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Both tumor cell proliferation and metastasis are dependent on myosin II. Because UNC-45 is required to chaperone the assembly of a functional myosin II motor, we examined the expression of the general cell (GC) UNC-45 isoform in ovarian tumors. Serous carcinoma expressed elevated levels of GC UNC-45 compared with normal ovarian surface epithelium and benign cystadenoma. High-stage exhibited greater GC UNC-45 expression than low-stage serous carcinoma. Similarly, GC UNC-45 transcripts and protein levels were higher in ovarian cell lines than in immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cells. Elevation of GC UNC-45 levels by ectopic expression enhanced the rate of ovarian cancer cell proliferation, whereas siRNA knockdown of GC UNC-45 suppressed proliferation without altering myosin II levels. GC UNC-45 and myosin II were diffuse within the cytoplasm of confluent interphase cells, but both accumulated together at the cleavage furrow during cytokinesis. GC UNC-45 and myosin II also trafficked to the leading edges of ovarian cancer cells induced to move in a scratch assay. Knockdown of GC UNC-45 reduced the spreading ability of ovarian cancer cells whereas it was enhanced by GC UNC-45 overexpression. In sum, these findings implicate elevated GC UNC-45 protein expression in ovarian carcinoma proliferation and metastasis.

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