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Mol Biol Cell. 2018 Aug 1;29(15):1825-1838. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E17-12-0708. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

RECK isoforms have opposing effects on cell migration.

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Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095.
Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095.
Department of Biological Chemistry, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095.
Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095.


Cell migration is a highly conserved process involving cytoskeletal reorganization and restructuring of the surrounding extracellular matrix. Although there are many studies describing mechanisms underlying cell motility, little has been reported about the contribution of alternative isoform use toward cell migration. Here, we investigated whether alternative isoform use can affect cell migration focusing on reversion-inducing-cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs (RECK), an established inhibitor of cell migration. We found that a shorter isoform of RECK is more highly expressed in proliferating fibroblasts, in TGF-β-treated fibroblasts, and in tumors compared with differentiated tissue. Knockdown of this short RECK isoform reduces fibroblast migration through Matrigel. Thus, this short isoform of RECK generated by a combination of alternative splicing and alternative polyadenylation plays an opposing role to the canonical RECK isoform, as knockdown of canonical RECK results in faster cell migration through Matrigel. We show that the short RECK protein competes with matrix metalloprotease 9 (MMP9) for binding to the Kazal motifs of canonical RECK, thus liberating MMP9 from an inactivating interaction with canonical RECK. Our studies provide a new paradigm and a detailed mechanism for how alternative isoform use can regulate cell migration by producing two proteins with opposing effects from the same genetic locus.

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