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Cell Death Dis. 2019 Jun 12;10(6):462. doi: 10.1038/s41419-019-1709-8.

YIPF2 is a novel Rab-GDF that enhances HCC malignant phenotypes by facilitating CD147 endocytic recycle.

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Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Nankai University, Tianjin, China.
Department of Neurobiology, College of Life and Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China.
Department of Clinical Laboratory, Cancer Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China.
Cytokine Receptor Laboratory, VIB Medical Biotechnology Center, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
Department of Cell Biology, National Translational Science Center for Molecular Medicine, State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China.
Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Nankai University, Tianjin, China.


An increased surface level of CIE (clathrin-independent endocytosis) proteins is a new feature of malignant neoplasms. CD147 is a CIE glycoprotein highly up-regulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The ability to sort out the early endosome and directly target the recycling pathway confers on CD147 a prolonged surface half-life. However, current knowledge on CD147 trafficking to and from the cell-surface is limited. In this study, an MSP (membrane and secreted protein)-cDNA library was screened against EpoR/LR-F3/CD147EP-expressed cells by MAPPIT (mammalian protein-protein interaction trap). CD147 co-expressing with the new binder was investigated by GEPIA (gene expression profiling interactive analysis). The endocytosis, ER-Golgi trafficking and recycling of CD147 were measured by confocal imaging, flow cytometry, and biotin-labeled chase assays, respectively. Rab GTPase activation was checked by GST-RBD pull-down and MMP activity was measured by gelatin zymography. HCC malignant phenotypes were determined by cell adhesion, proliferation, migration, Transwell motility, and invasion assays. An ER-Golgi-resident transmembrane protein YIPF2 was identified as an intracellular binder to CD147. YIPF2 correlated and co-expressed with CD147, which is a survival predictor for HCC patients. YIPF2 is critical for CD147 glycosylation and trafficking functions in HCC cells. YIPF2 acts as a Rab-GDF (GDI-displacement factor) regulating three independent trafficking steps. First, YIPF2 recruits and activates Rab5 and Rab22a GTPases to the endomembrane structures. Second, YIPF2 modulates the endocytic recycling of CD147 through distinctive regulation on Rab5 and Rab22a. Third, YIPF2 mediates the mature processing of CD147 via the ER-Golgi trafficking route. Decreased YIPF2 expression induced a CD147 efficient delivery to the cell-surface, promoted MMP secretion, and enhanced the adhesion, motility, migration, and invasion behaviors of HCC cells. Thus, YIPF2 is a new trafficking determinant essential for CD147 glycosylation and transport. Our findings revealed a novel YIPF2-controlled ER-Golgi trafficking signature that promotes CD147-medated malignant phenotypes in HCC.

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