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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 17;9(1):e85817. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085817. eCollection 2014.

Actin filaments at the leading edge of cancer cells are characterized by a high mobile fraction and turnover regulation by profilin I.

Author information

1
Neurophysiology Laboratory, Deptartment of Physiological Sciences I, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
2
Structural Synaptic Plasticity Lab, Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases, CIBIR Piqueras 98, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain.

Abstract

Cellular motility is the basis for cancer cell invasion and metastasis. In the case of breast cancer, the most common type of cancer among women, metastasis represents the most devastating stage of the disease. The central role of cellular motility in cancer development emphasizes the importance of understanding the specific mechanisms involved in this process. In this context, tumor development and metastasis would be the consequence of a loss or defect of the mechanisms that control cytoskeletal remodeling. Profilin I belongs to a family of small actin binding proteins that are thought to assist in actin filament elongation at the leading edge of migrating cells. Traditionally, Profilin I has been considered to be an essential control element for actin polymerization and cell migration. Expression of Profilin I is down-regulated in breast and various other cancer cells. In MDA-MB-231 cells, a breast cancer cell line, further inhibition of Profilin I expression promotes hypermotility and metastatic spread, a finding that contrasts with the proposed role of Profilin in enhancing polymerization. In this report, we have taken advantage of the fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) of GFP-actin to quantify and compare actin dynamics at the leading edge level in both cancer and non-cancer cell models. Our results suggest that (i) a high level of actin dynamics (i.e., a large mobile fraction of actin filaments and a fast turnover) is a common characteristic of some cancer cells; (ii) actin polymerization shows a high degree of independence from the presence of extracellular growth factors; and (iii) our results also corroborate the role of Profilin I in regulating actin polymerization, as raising the intracellular levels of Profilin I decreased the mobile fraction ratio of actin filaments and slowed their polymerization rate; furthermore, increased Profilin levels also led to reduced individual cell velocity and directionality.

PMID:
24465723
PMCID:
PMC3895011
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0085817
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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