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By the mid 1980's, it was clear that the transforming activity of oncogenic Src was linked to the activity of its tyrosine kinase domain and attention turned to identifying substrates, the putative next level of control in the pathway to transformation. Among the first to recognize the potential of phosphotyrosine-specific antibodies, Parsons and colleagues launched a risky shotgun-based approach that led ultimately to the cDNA cloning and functional characterization of many of today's best-known Src substrates (for example, p85-Cortactin, p110-AFAP1, p130Cas, p125FAK and p120-catenin). Two decades and over 6000 citations later, the original goals of the project may be seen as secondary to the enormous impact of these protein substrates in many areas of biology. At the request of the editors, this review is not restricted to the current status of the substrates, but reflects also on the anatomy of the project itself and some of the challenges and decisions encountered along the way.
The morphology of healthy podocyte foot processes is necessary for maintaining the characteristics of the kidney filtration barrier. In most forms of glomerular disease, abnormal filter barrier function results when podocytes undergo foot process spreading and retraction by remodeling their cytoskeletal architecture and intercellular junctions during a process known as effacement. The cell adhesion protein nephrin is necessary for establishing the morphology of the kidney podocyte in development by transducing from the specialized podocyte intercellular junction phosphorylation-mediated signals that regulate cytoskeletal dynamics. The present studies extend our understanding of nephrin function by showing that nephrin activation in cultured podocytes induced actin dynamics necessary for lamellipodial protrusion. This process required a PI3K-, Cas-, and Crk1/2-dependent signaling mechanism distinct from the previously described nephrin-Nck1/2 pathway necessary for assembly and polymerization of actin filaments. Our present findings also support the hypothesis that mechanisms governing lamellipodial protrusion in culture are similar to those used in vivo during foot process effacement in a subset of glomerular diseases. In mice, podocyte-specific deletion of Crk1/2 prevented foot process effacement in one model of podocyte injury and attenuated foot process effacement and associated proteinuria in a delayed fashion in a second model. In humans, focal adhesion kinase and Cas phosphorylation - markers of focal adhesion complex-mediated Crk-dependent signaling - was induced in minimal change disease and membranous nephropathy, but not focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Together, these observations suggest that activation of a Cas-Crk1/2-dependent complex is necessary for foot process effacement observed in distinct subsets of human glomerular diseases.
Crk-associated substrate (CAS) is a major tyrosine-phosphorylated protein in cells transformed by v-crk and v-src oncogenes and plays an important role in invasiveness of Src-transformed cells. A novel phosphorylation site on CAS, Tyr-12 (Y12) within the ligand-binding hydrophobic pocket of the CAS SH3 domain, was identified and found to be enriched in Src-transformed cells and invasive human carcinoma cells. To study the biological significance of CAS Y12 phosphorylation, phosphomimicking Y12E and nonphosphorylatable Y12F mutants of CAS were studied. The phosphomimicking mutation decreased interaction of the CAS SH3 domain with focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and PTP-PEST and reduced tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK. Live-cell imaging showed that green fluorescent protein-tagged CAS Y12E mutant is, in contrast to wild-type or Y12F CAS, excluded from focal adhesions but retains its localization to podosome-type adhesions. Expression of CAS-Y12F in cas-/- mouse embryonic fibroblasts resulted in hyperphosphorylation of the CAS substrate domain, and this was associated with slower turnover of focal adhesions and decreased cell migration. Moreover, expression of CAS Y12F in Src-transformed cells greatly decreased invasiveness when compared to wild-type CAS expression. These findings reveal an important role of CAS Y12 phosphorylation in the regulation of focal adhesion assembly, cell migration, and invasiveness of Src-transformed cells.
The docking protein p130Cas is a prominent Src substrate found in focal adhesions (FAs) and is implicated in regulating critical aspects of cell motility including FA disassembly and protrusion of the leading edge plasma membrane. To better understand how p130Cas acts to promote these events we examined requirements for established p130Cas signaling motifs including the SH3-binding site of the Src binding domain (SBD) and the tyrosine phosphorylation sites within the substrate domain (SD). Expression of wild type p130Cas in Cas -/- mouse embryo fibroblasts resulted in enhanced cell migration associated with increased leading-edge actin flux, increased rates of FA assembly/disassembly, and uninterrupted FA turnover. Variants lacking either the SD phosphorylation sites or the SBD SH3-binding motif were able to partially restore the migration response, while only a variant lacking both signaling functions was fully defective. Notably, the migration defects associated with p130Cas signaling-deficient variants correlated with longer FA lifetimes resulting from aborted FA disassembly attempts. However the SD mutational variant was fully defective in increasing actin assembly at the protruding leading edge and FA assembly/disassembly rates, indicating that SD phosphorylation is the sole p130Cas signaling function in regulating these processes. Our results provide the first quantitative evidence supporting roles for p130Cas SD tyrosine phosphorylation in promoting both leading edge actin flux and FA turnover during cell migration, while further revealing that the p130Cas SBD has a function in cell migration and sustained FA disassembly that is distinct from its known role of promoting SD tyrosine phosphorylation.
The docking protein p130Cas is a major Src substrate involved in integrin signaling and mechanotransduction. Tyrosine phosphorylation of p130Cas in focal adhesions (FAs) has been linked to enhanced cell migration, invasion, proliferation, and survival. However, the mechanism of p130Cas targeting to FAs is uncertain, and dynamic aspects of its localization have not been explored. Using live cell microscopy, we show that fluorophore-tagged p130Cas is a component of FAs throughout the FA assembly and disassembly stages, although it resides transiently in FAs with a high mobile fraction. Deletion of either the N-terminal Src homology 3 (SH3) domain or the Cas-family C-terminal homology (CCH) domain significantly impaired p130Cas FA localization, and deletion of both domains resulted in full exclusion. Focal adhesion kinase was implicated in the FA targeting function of the p130Cas SH3 domain. Consistent with their roles in FA targeting, both the SH3 and CCH domains were found necessary for p130Cas to fully undergo tyrosine phosphorylation and promote cell migration. By revealing the capacity of p130Cas to function in FAs throughout their lifetime, clarifying FA targeting mechanism, and demonstrating the functional importance of the highly conserved CCH domain, our results advance the understanding of an important aspect of integrin signaling.
Invadopodia are actin-rich subcellular protrusions with associated proteases used by cancer cells to degrade extracellular matrix (ECM) . Molecular components of invadopodia include branched actin-assembly proteins, membrane trafficking proteins, signaling proteins, and transmembrane proteinases . Similar structures exist in nontransformed cells, such as osteoclasts and dendritic cells, but are generally called podosomes and are thought to be more involved in cell-matrix adhesion than invadopodia [2-4]. Despite intimate contact with their ECM substrates, it is unknown whether physical or chemical ECM signals regulate invadopodia function. Here, we report that ECM rigidity directly increases both the number and activity of invadopodia. Transduction of ECM-rigidity signals depends on the cellular contractile apparatus [5-7], given that inhibition of nonmuscle myosin II, myosin light chain kinase, and Rho kinase all abrogate invadopodia-associated ECM degradation. Whereas myosin IIA, IIB, and phosphorylated myosin light chain do not localize to invadopodia puncta, active phosphorylated forms of the mechanosensing proteins p130Cas (Cas) and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) are present in actively degrading invadopodia, and the levels of phospho-Cas and phospho-FAK in invadopodia are sensitive to myosin inhibitors. Overexpression of Cas or FAK further enhances invadopodia activity in cells plated on rigid polyacrylamide substrates. Thus, in invasive cells, ECM-rigidity signals lead to increased matrix-degrading activity at invadopodia, via a myosin II-FAK/Cas pathway. These data suggest a potential mechanism, via invadopodia, for the reported correlation of tissue density with cancer aggressiveness.
Aberrant expression and/or activity of members of the Src family of nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinases (SFK) are commonly observed in progressive stages of human tumors. In prostate cancer, two SFKs (Src and Lyn) have been specifically implicated in tumor growth and progression. However, there are no data in preclinical models demonstrating potential efficacy of Src inhibitors against prostate cancer growth and/or metastasis. In this study, we used the small molecule SFK/Abl kinase inhibitor dasatinib, currently in clinical trials for solid tumors, to examine in vitro and in vivo effects of inhibiting SFKs in prostate tumor cells. In vitro, dasatinib inhibits both Src and Lyn activity, resulting in decreased cellular proliferation, migration, and invasion. In orthotopic nude mouse models, dasatinib treatment effectively inhibits expression of activated SFKs, resulting in inhibition of both tumor growth and development of lymph node metastases in both androgen-sensitive and androgen-resistant tumors. In primary tumors, SFK inhibition leads to decreased cellular proliferation (determined by immunohistochemistry for proliferating cell nuclear antigen). In vitro, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated inhibition of Lyn affects cellular proliferation; siRNA inhibition of Src affects primarily cellular migration. Therefore, we conclude that SFKs are promising therapeutic targets for treatment of human prostate cancer and that Src and Lyn activities affect different cellular functions required for prostate tumor growth and progression.
Telomere attrition, DNA damage and constitutive mitogenic signaling can all trigger cellular senescence in normal cells and serve as a defense against tumor progression. Cancer cells may circumvent this cellular defense by acquiring genetic mutations in checkpoint proteins responsible for regulating permanent cell cycle arrest. A small family of tumor suppressor genes encoding the retinoblastoma susceptibility protein family (Rb, p107, p130) exerts a partially redundant control of entry into S phase of DNA replication and cellular proliferation. Here we report that activation of the p53-dependent DNA damage response has been found to accelerate senescence in human prostate cancer cells lacking a functional Rb protein. This novel form of irradiation-induced premature cellular senescence reinforces the notion that other Rb family members may compensate for loss of Rb protein in the DNA damage response pathway. Consistent with this hypothesis, depletion of p107 potently inhibits the irradiation-induced senescence observed in DU145 cells. In contrast, p130 depletion triggers a robust and unexpected form of premature senescence in unirradiated cells. The dominant effect of depleting both p107 and p130, in the absence of Rb, was a complete blockade of irradiation-induced cellular senescence. Onset of the p107-dependent senescence was temporally associated with p53-mediated stabilization of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 and decreases in c-myc and cks1 expression. These results indicate that p107 is required for initiation of accelerated cellular senescence in the absence of Rb and introduces the concept that p130 may be required to prevent the onset of terminal growth arrest in unstimulated prostate cancer cells lacking a functional Rb allele.
Reciprocal cooperative signaling by integrins and growth factor receptors at G1 phase during cell cycle progression is well documented. By contrast, little is known about the cross-talk between integrin and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta signaling. Here, we show that integrin signaling counteracts the inhibitory effects of TGF-beta on cell growth and that this effect is mediated by p130Cas (Crk-associated substrate, 130 kDa). Adhesion to fibronectin or laminin reduces TGF-beta-induced Smad3 phosphorylation and thus inhibits TGF-beta-mediated growth arrest; loss of p130Cas abrogates these effects. Loss and gain of function studies demonstrated that, once tyrosine-phosphorylated via integrin signaling, p130Cas binds to Smad3 and reduces phosphorylation of Smad3. That in turn leads to inhibition of p15 and p21 expression and facilitation of cell cycle progression. Thus, p130Cas-mediated control of TGF-beta/Smad signaling may provide an additional clue to the mechanism underlying resistance to TGF-beta-induced growth inhibition.
Netrins are an important family of axon guidance cues. Here, we report that netrin-1 induces tyrosine phosphorylation of p130(CAS) (Crk-associated substrate). Our biochemical studies indicate that p130(CAS) is downstream of the Src family kinases and upstream of the small GTPase Rac1 and Cdc42. Inhibition of p130(CAS) signaling blocks both the neurite outgrowth-promoting activity and the axon attraction activity of netrin-1. p130(CAS) RNA interference inhibits the attraction of commissural axons in the spinal cord by netrin-1 and causes defects in commissural axon projection in the embryo. These results demonstrate that p130(CAS) is a key component in the netrin signal transduction pathway and plays an important role in guiding commissural axons in vivo.