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Oncogene. 1999 Jan 7;18(1):67-77.

Expression of the focal adhesion protein paxillin in lung cancer and its relation to cell motility.

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Division of Hematologic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Lung cancer can lead to abnormalities of the actin cytoskeleton structure which may be important in transformation. In this study, we have investigated the expression of the cytoskeletal associated protein paxillin in lung cancer. Paxillin is a 68 kDa focal adhesion protein, with four tandem LIM domains at the C-terminus, involved in growth factor receptor, integrin and oncogenic signaling such as v-src, BCR/ABL, and E6 of the papilloma virus. In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, paxillin localized to the focal adhesions. The possible role of paxillin in lung cancer cells was assessed by overexpressing green fluorescence protein (GFP)-paxillin construct in two separate NSCLC cell lines (Calu-1 and H661). Over the course of 48 h, GFP-paxillin consistently caused the cells to become round and to decrease cell motility as compared to normal controls, GFP-N-terminus paxillin, or GFP-LIM transfected cells. Because some lung cancers may be quite aggressive and metastasize quickly, which may be related to the cytoskeleton, we determined the expression of paxillin in NSCLC and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines and patient tumor tissues. Expression of paxillin in NSCLC and SCLC cell lines were determined by Northern blot and Western blot analysis. The expression of paxillin was consistently low in SCLC cell lines, whereas there was paxillin expression in NSCLC cell lines. There was a variability of expression of paxillin in NSCLC tumor tissue as compared to normal lung tissue. In contrast, by immunohistochemistry, we show that there was no detectable expression of paxillin in 5/5 SCLC patients. This data suggests that absence or low level of paxillin protein expression may cause certain lung cancers, such as SCLC, to be more motile and possibly more aggressive.

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