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Cancer Res. 2019 Oct 22. pii: canres.1237.2019. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1237. [Epub ahead of print]

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

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Bioengineering, UC Berkeley.
Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley.
Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley


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 LIMK 1/2 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 (TICs) in both Boyden Chamber and 3D hyaluronic acid spheroid invasion assays. Further, LIMK1/2 functionally regulated cell invasiveness in part by disrupting polarized cell motility under confinement and cell chemotaxis. In an orthotopic xenograft model where 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.

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