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A synthetic biology approach reveals a CXCR4-G13-Rho signaling axis driving transendothelial migration of metastatic breast cancer cells.

Yagi H, Tan W, Dillenburg-Pilla P, Armando S, Amornphimoltham P, Simaan M, Weigert R, Molinolo AA, Bouvier M, Gutkind JS

Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA.

Tumor cells can co-opt the promigratory activity of chemokines and their cognate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to metastasize to regional lymph nodes or distant organs. Indeed, the migration toward SDF-1 (stromal cell-derived factor 1) of tumor cells bearing CXCR4 [chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4] has been implicated in the lymphatic and organ-specific metastasis of various human malignancies. Here, we used chimeric G proteins and GPCRs activated solely by artificial ligands to selectively activate the signaling pathways downstream of specific G proteins and showed that CXCR4-mediated chemotaxis and transendothelial migration of metastatic basal-like breast cancer cells required activation of Gα(13), a member of the Gα(12/13) G protein family, and of the small guanosine triphosphatase Rho. Multiple complementary experimental strategies, including synthetic biology approaches, indicated that signaling-selective inhibition of the CXCR4-Gα(13)-Rho axis prevents the metastatic spread of basal-like breast cancer cells.

Sci Signal 2011;4(191):ra60.

Pubmed ID: 21934106

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