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Exp Cell Res. 2004 May 1;295(2):497-511.

Regulation of anoikis by Cdc42 and Rac1.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei 100, Taiwan.


Ras family small GTPases play a critical role in malignant transformation, and Rho subfamily members contribute significantly to this process. Anchorage-independent growth and the ability to avoid detachment-induced apoptosis (anoikis) are hallmarks of transformed epithelial cells. In this study, we have demonstrated that constitutive activation of Cdc42 inhibits anoikis in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells. We showed that activated Cdc42 stimulates the ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPK pathways in suspension condition; however, inhibition of these signaling does not affect Cdc42-stimulated cell survival. However, we demonstrated that inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway abolishes the protective effect of Cdc42 on anoikis. Taking advantage of a double regulatory expression system, we also showed that Cdc42-stimulated cell survival in suspension condition is, at least in part, mediated by Rac1. We also provide evidence for a positive feedback loop involving Rac1 and PI3K. In addition, we show that the survival functions of both constitutively active Cdc42 and Rac1 GTPases are abrogated by Latrunculin B, an actin filament-depolymerizing agent, implying an important role for the actin cytoskeleton in mediating survival signaling activated by Cdc42 and Rac1. Together, our results indicate a role for Cdc42 in anchorage-independent survival of epithelial cells. We also propose that this survival function depends on a positive feedback loop involving Rac1 and PI3K.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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