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Curr Biol. 1999 Feb 11;9(3):136-45.

Transformation mediated by RhoA requires activity of ROCK kinases.

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1
Transcription Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Ras-related GTPase RhoA controls signalling processes required for cytoskeletal reorganisation, transcriptional regulation, and transformation. The ability of RhoA mutants to transform cells correlates not with transcription but with their ability to bind ROCK-I, an effector kinase involved in cytoskeletal reorganisation. We used a recently developed specific ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, and ROCK truncation mutants to investigate the role of ROCK kinases in transcriptional activation and transformation.

RESULTS:

In NIH3T3 cells, Y-27632 did not prevent the activation of serum response factor, transcription of c-fos or cell cycle re-entry following serum stimulation. Repeated treatment of NIH3T3 cells with Y-27632, however, substantially disrupted their actin fibre network but did not affect their growth rate. Y-27632 blocked focus formation by RhoA and its guanine-nucleotide exchange factors Dbl and mNET1. It did not affect the growth rate of cells transformed by Dbl and mNET1, but restored normal growth control at confluence and prevented their growth in soft agar. Y-27632 also significantly inhibited focus formation by Ras, but had no effect on the establishment or maintenance of transformation by Src. Furthermore, it significantly inhibited anchorage-independent growth of two out of four colorectal tumour cell lines. Consistent with these data, a truncated ROCK derivative exhibited weak ability to cooperate with activated Raf in focus formation assays.

CONCLUSIONS:

ROCK signalling is required for both the establishment and maintenance of transformation by constitutive activation of RhoA, and contributes to the Ras-transformed phenotype. These observations provide a potential explanation for the requirement for Rho in Ras-mediated transformation. Moreover, the inhibition of ROCK kinases may be of therapeutic use.

PMID:
10021386
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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