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Cancer Res. 2020 Jan 1;80(1):69-78. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1237. Epub 2019 Oct 22.

Suppression of LIM Kinase 1 and LIM Kinase 2 Limits Glioblastoma Invasion.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California.
UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco Graduate Program in Bioengineering, Berkeley, California.
Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California.
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California.
Contributed equally


The aggressive brain tumor glioblastoma (GBM) is characterized by rapid cellular infiltration of brain tissue, raising the possibility that disease progression could potentially be slowed by disrupting the machinery of cell migration. The LIM kinase isoforms LIMK1 and LIMK2 (LIMK1/2) play important roles in cell polarization, migration, and invasion and are markedly upregulated in GBM and many other infiltrative cancers. Yet, it remains unclear whether LIMK suppression could serve as a viable basis for combating GBM infiltration. In this study, we investigated effects of LIMK1/2 suppression on GBM invasion by combining GBM culture models, engineered invasion paradigms, and mouse xenograft models. While knockdown of either LIMK1 or LIMK2 only minimally influenced invasion in culture, simultaneous knockdown of both isoforms strongly reduced the invasive motility of continuous culture models and human GBM tumor-initiating cells (TIC) in both Boyden chamber and 3D hyaluronic acid spheroid invasion assays. Furthermore, LIMK1/2 functionally regulated cell invasiveness, in part, by disrupting polarized cell motility under confinement and cell chemotaxis. In an orthotopic xenograft model, TICs stably transduced with LIMK1/2 shRNA were implanted intracranially in immunocompromised mice. Tumors derived from LIMK1/2 knockdown TICs were substantially smaller and showed delayed growth kinetics and more distinct margins than tumors derived from control TICs. Overall, LIMK1/2 suppression increased mean survival time by 30%. These findings indicate that LIMK1/2 strongly regulate GBM invasive motility and tumor progression and support further exploration of LIMK1/2 as druggable targets. SIGNIFICANCE: Targeting the actin-binding proteins LIMK1 and LIMK2 significantly diminishes glioblastoma invasion and spread, suggesting the potential value of these proteins as therapeutic targets.

[Available on 2020-07-01]

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