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Cancer Cell Int. 2011 Jun 29;11(1):22. doi: 10.1186/1475-2867-11-22.

Different metastasis promotive potency of small G-proteins RalA and RalB in in vivo hamster tumor model.

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Department of Oncogenes Regulation, Institute of Carcinogenesis, Russian N,N, Blokhin Cancer Research Center, Kashirskoye shosse 24, 115478, Moscow, Russia.



Previously we have shown that oncogenic Ha-Ras stimulated in vivo metastasis through RalGEF-Ral signaling. RalA and RalB are highly homologous small G proteins belonging to Ras superfamily. They can be activated by Ras-RalGEF signaling pathway and influence cellular growth and survival, motility, vesicular transport and tumor progression in humans and in animal models. Here we first time compared the influence of RalA and RalB on tumorigenic, invasive and metastatic properties of RSV transformed hamster fibroblasts.


Retroviral vectors encoding activated forms or effector mutants of RalA or RalB proteins were introduced into the low metastatic HET-SR cell line. Tumor growth and spontaneous metastatic activity (SMA) were evaluated on immunocompetent hamsters after subcutaneous injection of cells. The biological properties of cells, including proliferation, clonogenicity, migration and invasion were determined using MTT, wound healing, colony formation and Boyden chamber assays respectively. Protein expression and phosphorylation was detected by Westen blot analysis. Extracellular proteinases activity was assessed by substrate-specific zymography.


We have showed that although both Ral proteins stimulated SMA, RalB was more effective in metastasis stimulation in vivo as well as in potentiating of directed movement and invasion in vitro. Simultaneous expression of active RalA and RalB didn't give synergetic effect on metastasis formation. RalB activity decreased expression of Caveolin-1, while active RalA stimulated MMP-1 and uPA proteolytic activity, as well as CD24 expression. Both Ral proteins were capable of Cyclin D1 upregulation, JNK1 kinase activation, and stimulation of colony growth and motility. Among three main RalB effectors (RalBP1, exocyst complex and PLD1), PLD1 was essential for RalB-dependent metastasis stimulation.


Presented results are the first data on direct comparison of RalA and RalB impact as well as of RalA/RalB simultaneous expression influence on in vivo cell metastatic activity. We showed that RalB activation significantly more than RalA stimulates SMA. This property correlates with the ability of RalB to stimulate in vitro invasion and serum directed cell movement. We also found that RalB-PLD1 interaction is necessary for the acquisition of RalB-dependent high metastatic cell phenotype. These findings contribute to the identification of molecular mechanisms of metastasis and tumor progression.

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