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Biochem J. 2012 Nov 15;448(1):35-42. doi: 10.1042/BJ20112206.

Scar/WAVE3 contributes to motility and plasticity of lamellipodial dynamics but not invasion in three dimensions.

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  • 1The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Garscube Estate, Switchback Rd., Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1BD, UK.


The Scar (suppressor of cAMP receptor)/WAVE [WASP (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein) verprolin homologous] complex plays a major role in the motility of cells by activating the Arp2/3 complex, which initiates actin branching and drives protrusions. Mammals have three Scar/WAVE isoforms, which show some tissue-specific expression, but their functions have not been differentiated. In the present study we show that depletion of Scar/WAVE3 in the mammalian breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231 results in larger and less dynamic lamellipodia. Scar/WAVE3-depleted cells move more slowly but more persistently on a two-dimensional matrix and they typically only show one lamellipod. However, Scar/WAVE3 appears to have no role in driving invasiveness in a three-dimensional Matrigel™ invasion assay or a three-dimensional collagen invasion assay, suggesting that lamellipodial persistence as seen in two-dimensions is not crucial in three-dimensional environments.

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