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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 26;116(9):3536-3545. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1805919116. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

M-Ras/Shoc2 signaling modulates E-cadherin turnover and cell-cell adhesion during collective cell migration.

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Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Signaling, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702
Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Signaling, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702.


Collective cell migration is required for normal embryonic development and contributes to various biological processes, including wound healing and cancer cell invasion. The M-Ras GTPase and its effector, the Shoc2 scaffold, are proteins mutated in the developmental RASopathy Noonan syndrome, and, here, we report that activated M-Ras recruits Shoc2 to cell surface junctions where M-Ras/Shoc2 signaling contributes to the dynamic regulation of cell-cell junction turnover required for collective cell migration. MCF10A cells expressing the dominant-inhibitory M-RasS27N variant or those lacking Shoc2 exhibited reduced junction turnover and were unable to migrate effectively as a group. Through further depletion/reconstitution studies, we found that M-Ras/Shoc2 signaling contributes to junction turnover by modulating the E-cadherin/p120-catenin interaction and, in turn, the junctional expression of E-cadherin. The regulatory effect of the M-Ras/Shoc2 complex was mediated at least in part through the phosphoregulation of p120-catenin and required downstream ERK cascade activation. Strikingly, cells rescued with the Noonan-associated, myristoylated-Shoc2 mutant (Myr-Shoc2) displayed a gain-of-function (GOF) phenotype, with the cells exhibiting increased junction turnover and reduced E-cadherin/p120-catenin binding and migrating as a faster but less cohesive group. Consistent with these results, Noonan-associated C-Raf mutants that bypass the need for M-Ras/Shoc2 signaling exhibited a similar GOF phenotype when expressed in Shoc2-depleted MCF10A cells. Finally, expression of the Noonan-associated Myr-Shoc2 or C-Raf mutants, but not their WT counterparts, induced gastrulation defects indicative of aberrant cell migration in zebrafish embryos, further demonstrating the function of the M-Ras/Shoc2/ERK cascade signaling axis in the dynamic control of coordinated cell movement.


C-Raf; M-Ras; Noonan syndrome; Shoc2; collective cell migration

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