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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26552. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026552. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Protein kinase A activity and anchoring are required for ovarian cancer cell migration and invasion.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont, United States of America.


Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the deadliest of the gynecological malignancies, due in part to its clinically occult metastasis. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms governing EOC dissemination and invasion may provide new targets for antimetastatic therapies or new methods for detection of metastatic disease. The cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) is often dysregulated in EOC. Furthermore, PKA activity and subcellular localization by A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) are important regulators of cytoskeletal dynamics and cell migration. Thus, we sought to study the role of PKA and AKAP function in both EOC cell migration and invasion. Using the plasma membrane-directed PKA biosensor, pmAKAR3, and an improved migration/invasion assay, we show that PKA is activated at the leading edge of migrating SKOV-3 EOC cells, and that inhibition of PKA activity blocks SKOV-3 cell migration. Furthermore, we show that while the PKA activity within the leading edge of these cells is mediated by anchoring of type-II regulatory PKA subunits (RII), inhibition of anchoring of either RI or RII PKA subunits blocks cell migration. Importantly, we also show--for the first time--that PKA activity is up-regulated at the leading edge of SKOV-3 cells during invasion of a three-dimensional extracellular matrix and, as seen for migration, inhibition of either PKA activity or AKAP-mediated PKA anchoring blocks matrix invasion. These data are the first to demonstrate that the invasion of extracellular matrix by cancer cells elicits activation of PKA within the invasive leading edge and that both PKA activity and anchoring are required for matrix invasion. These observations suggest a role for PKA and AKAP activity in EOC metastasis.

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