NEDD9 regulates 3D migratory activity independent of the Rac1 morphology switch in glioma and neuroblastoma.

16 September 2016

Metastasizing tumor cells must transmigrate the dense extracellular matrix that surrounds most organs. The use of three-dimensional (3D) collagen gels has revealed that many cancer cells can switch between different modes of invasion that are characterized by distinct morphologies (e.g., rounded vs. elongated). The adhesion protein NEDD9 has the potential to regulate the switch between elongated and rounded morphologies; therefore, its role was interrogated in the invasion switch of glioblastoma and neuroblastoma tumors that similarly derive from populations of neural crest cells. Interestingly, siRNA-mediated depletion of NEDD9 failed to induce cell rounding in glioma or neuroblastoma cells, contrasting the effects that have been described in other tumor model systems. Given that Rac1 GTPase has been suggested to mediate the switch between elongated and rounded invasion, the functionality of the Rac1 morphology switch was evaluated in the glioma and neuroblastoma cells. Using both dominant-negative Rac1 and Rac1-specific siRNA, the presence of this morphologic switch was confirmed in the neuroblastoma, but not in the glioma cells. However, in the absence of a morphologic change following NEDD9 depletion, a significant decrease in the cellular migration rate was observed. Thus, the data reveal that NEDD9 can regulate 3D migration speed independent of the Rac1 morphology switch. IMPLICATIONS: NEDD9 targeting is therapeutically viable as it does not stimulate adaptive changes in glioma and neuroblastoma invasion.