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Cancer Res. 2010 Nov 1;70(21):8760-9. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0952. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Phosphorylation of RalB is important for bladder cancer cell growth and metastasis.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.


RalA and RalB are monomeric G proteins that are 83% identical in amino acid sequence but have paralogue-specific effects on cell proliferation, metastasis, and apoptosis. Using in vitro kinase assays and phosphosite-specific antibodies, here we show phosphorylation of RalB by protein kinase C (PKC) and RalA by protein kinase A. We used mass spectrometry and site-directed mutagenesis to identify S198 as the primary PKC phosphorylation site in RalB. Phorbol ester [phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)] treatment of human bladder carcinoma cells induced S198 phosphorylation of stably expressed FLAG-RalB as well as endogenous RalB. PMA treatment caused RalB translocation from the plasma membrane to perinuclear regions in a S198 phosphorylation-dependent manner. Using RNA interference depletion of RalB followed by rescue with wild-type RalB or RalB(S198A) as well as overexpression of wild-type RalB or RalB(S198A) with and without PMA stimulation, we show that phosphorylation of RalB at S198 is necessary for actin cytoskeletal organization, anchorage-independent growth, cell migration, and experimental lung metastasis of T24 or UMUC3 human bladder cancer cells. In addition, UMUC3 cells transfected with a constitutively active RalB(G23V) exhibited enhanced subcutaneous tumor growth, whereas those transfected with phospho-deficient RalB(G23V-S198A) were indistinguishable from control cells. Our data show that RalA and RalB are phosphorylated by different kinases, and RalB phosphorylation is necessary for in vitro cellular functions and in vivo tumor growth and metastasis.

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