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Exp Cell Res. 2006 Oct 15;312(17):3432-42. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

P311-induced myofibroblasts exhibit ameboid-like migration through RalA activation.

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Department of Pathology, Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


We previously showed that P311, an intracellular protein involved in cell migration, is found in human wound myofibroblast precursors (proto-myofibroblasts) and myofibroblasts. Furthermore, by binding to the TGF-beta1 latency associated protein (LAP), P311 induced NIH 3T3 cells to transform into non-fibrogenic myofibroblasts characterized by lack of TGF-beta1 production. Here we demonstrate that P311-induced myofibroblasts migrate in an ameboid rather than a mesenchymal pattern. Ameboid migration is characterized by lack of focal adhesions and stress fibers, absence of integrins and MMPs clustering/activation and changes in small GTPases activity, all leading to increased cell motility. P311-induced ameboid migration depended on activation of the GTPase RalA and was reverted to mesenchymal-type migration by RalA RNA interference. Ameboid migration was conserved in cells plated on fibrin, the initial wound matrix, but was switched back to mesenchymal-type migration by collagen I, the main ECM component in late stages of wound healing. TGF-beta1, the major stimulus of collagen production during wound repair, also reversed the ameboid phenotype to mesenchymal. Our studies therefore suggest that, by inducing RalA activity, P311 promotes a motile proto-myofibroblast and myofibroblast phenotype specifically adapted to rapidly populate the initial wound matrix.

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