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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 31;279(53):55419-24. Epub 2004 Oct 14.

Constitutive protease-activated receptor-2-mediated migration of MDA MB-231 breast cancer cells requires both beta-arrestin-1 and -2.

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Division of Biomedical Sciences, Biochemical and Molecular Biology Program and Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology Program, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) is activated by trypsin-like serine proteases and can promote cell migration through an ERK1/2-dependent pathway, involving formation of a scaffolding complex at the leading edge of the cell. Previous studies also showed that expression of a dominant negative fragment of beta-arrestin-1 reduces PAR-2-stimulated internalization, ERK1/2 activation, and cell migration; however, this reagent may block association of many proteins, including beta-arrestin-2 with clathrin-coated pits. Here we investigate the role of PAR-2 in the constitutive migration of a metastatic breast cancer cell line, MDA MB-231, and use small interfering RNA to determine the contribution of each beta-arrestin to this process. We demonstrate that a trypsin-like protease secreted from MDA MB-231 cells can promote cell migration through autocrine activation of PAR-2 and this correlates with constitutive localization of PAR-2, beta-arrestin-2, and activated ERK1/2 to pseudopodia. Addition of MEK-1 inhibitors, trypsin inhibitors, a scrambled PAR-2 peptide, and silencing of beta-arrestins with small interfering RNA also reduce base-line migration of MDA MB-231 cells. In contrast, a less metastatic PAR-2 expressing breast cancer cell line does not exhibit constitutive migration, pseudopodia formation, or trypsin secretion; in these cells PAR-2 is more uniformly distributed around the cell periphery. These data demonstrate a requirement for both beta-arrestins in PAR-2-mediated motility and suggest that autocrine activation of PAR-2 by secreted proteases may contribute to the migration of metastatic tumor cells through beta-arrestin-dependent ERK1/2 activation.

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