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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Dec 13;108(50):20078-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1116327108. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Mechanistic modeling of the effects of myoferlin on tumor cell invasion.

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Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Myoferlin (MYOF) is a member of the evolutionarily conserved ferlin family of proteins, noted for their role in a variety of membrane processes, including endocytosis, repair, and vesicular transport. Notably, ferlins are implicated in Caenorhabditis elegans sperm motility (Fer-1), mammalian skeletal muscle development and repair (MYOF and dysferlin), and presynaptic transmission in the auditory system (otoferlin). In this paper, we demonstrate that MYOF plays a previously unrecognized role in cancer cell invasion, using a combination of mathematical modeling and in vitro experiments. Using a real-time impedance-based invasion assay (xCELLigence), we have shown that lentiviral-based knockdown of MYOF significantly reduced invasion of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in Matrigel bioassays. Based on these experimental data, we developed a partial differential equation model of MYOF effects on cancer cell invasion, which we used to generate mechanistic hypotheses. The mathematical model predictions revealed that matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) may play a key role in modulating this invasive property, which was supported by experimental data using quantitative RT-PCR screens. These results suggest that MYOF may be a promising target for biomarkers or drug target for metastatic cancer diagnosis and therapy, perhaps mediated through MMPs.

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