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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jun 17;286(24):21062-72. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.211409. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

Met receptors induce Sam68-dependent cell migration by activation of alternate extracellular signal-regulated kinase family members.

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Department of Medicine (Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation), Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/Met receptor signaling pathway is deregulated in diverse human malignancies and plays a central role in oncogenesis, tumor progression, and invasive cancer growth. Similarly, altered expression and splicing (i.e. inclusion of variant exon 5, "v5") of the cell adhesion marker, CD44, is associated with advanced cancer phenotypes. We sought to further understand how HGF regulates CD44v5 expression. Immortalized nontumorigenic keratinocyte (HaCaT) cells abundantly express both Met receptors and CD44v5 transmembrane glycoproteins. HGF stimulated CD44v5 protein expression and HaCaT cell migration; these events required activation of the ERK1/2 MAPK module and Sam68, a protein involved in RNA processing, splicing, and v5 inclusion. Similar to HaCaT cells, highly migratory MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells also required Sam68 expression for HGF-induced migration. However, MDA-MB-231 cell migration occurred independently of ERK1/2 and CD44v5 expression and instead required ERK5 signaling to Sam68. Phospho-mutant, but not WT-Sam68, blocked HGF-induced cell migration in both cell types; MDA-MB-435 cells behaved similarly. These results suggest that Sam68 acts as a convergence point for ERK signaling to cell migration; blockade of phospho-Sam68 may provide a new avenue for therapeutic inhibition of metastatic cancers.

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