Hyaluronan-mediated CD44 interaction with RhoGEF and Rho kinase promotes Grb2-associated binder-1 phosphorylation and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling leading to cytokine (macrophage-colony stimulating factor) production and breast tumor progression

Lilly Y W Bourguignon, Patrick A Singleton, Hongbo Zhu, Falko Diedrich
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2003 August 8, 278 (32): 29420-34
In this study we have examined CD44 (a hyaluronan (HA) receptor) interaction with a RhoA-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor (p115RhoGEF) in human metastatic breast tumor cells (MDA-MB-231 cell line). Immunoprecipitation and immunoblot analyses indicate that both CD44 and p115RhoGEF are expressed in MDA-MB-231 cells and that these two proteins are physically associated as a complex in vivo. The binding of HA to MDA-MB-231 cells stimulates p115RhoGEF-mediated RhoA signaling and Rho kinase (ROK) activity, which, in turn, increases serine/threonine phosphorylation of the adaptor protein, Gab-1 (Grb2-associated binder-1). Phosphorylated Gab-1 promotes PI 3-kinase recruitment to CD44v3. Subsequently, PI 3-kinase is activated (in particular, alpha, beta, gamma forms but not the delta form of the p110 catalytic subunit), AKT signaling occurs, the cytokine (macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF)) is produced, and tumor cell-specific phenotypes (e.g. tumor cell growth, survival and invasion) are up-regulated. Our results also demonstrate that HA/CD44-mediated oncogenic events (e.g. AKT activation, M-CSF production and breast tumor cell-specific phenotypes) can be effectively blocked by a PI 3-kinase inhibitor (LY294002). Finally, we have found that overexpression of a dominant-negative form of ROK (by transfection of MBA-MD-231 cells with the Rho-binding domain cDNA of ROK) not only inhibits HA/CD44-mediated RhoA-ROK activation and Gab-1 phosphorylation but also down-regulates oncogenic signaling events (e.g. Gab-1.PI 3-kinase-CD44v3 association, PI 3-kinase-mediated AKT activation, and M-CSF production) and tumor cell behaviors (e.g. cell growth, survival, and invasion). Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that CD44 interaction with p115RhoGEF and ROK plays a pivotal role in promoting Gab-1 phosphorylation leading to Gab-1.PI 3-kinase membrane localization, AKT signaling, and cytokine (M-CSF) production during HA-mediated breast cancer progression.

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