Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Cancer. 2009 Nov 15;125(10):2239-45. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24734.

The Janus-faced role of ezrin in "linking" cells to either normal or metastatic phenotype.

Author information

Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, Rome, Italy.


In the majority of eukaryotic cells, the ezrin, radixin and moesin (ERM) proteins are involved in many physiologic functions including regulation of actin cytoskeleton, control of cell shape, adhesion, motility and modulation of signal transduction pathways. In a previous study, we used a dominant negative ezrin-mutant to address ezrin involvement in remodeling of actin cytoskeleton and subsequently we depicted ezrin key role in melanoma cell migration and progression. Herein, we highlight recent advances on ezrin involvement in the metastatic phenomenon, including also some more neglected ezrin-related functions. Novel molecular processes driven by ezrin activation include: phagocytosis, acquisition of resistance to chemotherapeutics and triggering of programmed cell death signals. Recent data support an integrated role of ezrin also in development of tumor malignancy. On one hand, ezrin may be responsible of deranged execution of specific known functions such as adhesion and motility and on the other, it may also participate to unique metastatic determinants, through the establishment of aberrant linkages with tumor-related proteins. For instance, ezrin misslocalization, absence or deranged activity has started to be correlated with tumor progression in many tumors of different species, including humans. Concomitantly, ezrin may act simultaneously as a regulatory or deregulatory chaperon in both normal and tumor cells. It is still to be established whether this Janus-faced feature of ezrin is due to some unknown transforming Zelig-like property or to the fact that a tumor-associated molecule preferentially links to ezrin thus distracting it from its normal connections. However, the contribution of ezrin functional deregulation to the acquisition of the metastatic phenotype appears clear and ezrin or ezrin aberrant associations may represent good candidates for future anti-tumor therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center