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The Role of the Adapter Protein Anks1a in the Regulation of Breast Cancer Cell Motility

Anna O. Zholudeva1, Maria E. Lomakina1,2, Evgeniya A. Orlova1, Yanan Wang2, Artem I. Fokin2, Anna Polesskaya2, Alexis M. Gautreau2, and Antonina Y. Alexandrova1,a*

1N. N. Blokhin National Medical Research Center of Oncology, 115478 Moscow, Russia

2CNRS UMR7654, Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, Palaiseau, France

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received September 9, 2022; Revised October 30, 2022; Accepted October 31, 2022
Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a critical step in tumor progression that leads to the acquisition by cancer cells the capacity for migration using the mesenchymal motility mode regulated by the Rac→WAVE→Arp2/3 signaling pathway. Earlier it was shown that proteins interacting with Rac can regulate mesenchymal migration and thus determine the metastatic potential of the cells. The search for new regulators of cell migration is an important theoretical and practical task. The adaptor protein Anks1a is one of the proteins interacting with Rac, whose expression is altered in many types of tumors. The aim of this study was to find whether Anks1a affects the migration of cancer cells and to identify the mechanism underlying this effect. It was suggested that Anks1a can influence cancer cell migration either as a Rac1 effector or by activating human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) exchange. We investigated how upregulation and inhibition of Anks1a expression affected migration of breast cancer cells with different HER2 status. Anks1a was shown to interact with the activated form of Rac1. In the MDA-MB-231 cells (triple negative cancer), which lack HER2, Anks1a accumulated at the active cell edge, which is characterized by enrichment with active Rac1, whereas no such accumulation was observed in the HER2-overexpressing SK-BR-3 cells. Downregulation of the ANKS1a expression with esiRNA had almost no effect on the cancer cell motility, except a slight increase in the average migration rate of MDA-MB-231 cells. Among three cell lines tested, overexpression of Anks1a increased the migration rate of HER2-overexpressng SK-BR-3 cells only. We showed that Anks1a is an effector of activated Rac1, but its influence on the cell migration in this capacity was minimal, at least in the studied breast cancer cells. Anks1a affected the motility of breast cancer cells due to its involvement in the EGF receptor exchange.
KEY WORDS: Anks1a, cell migration, breast cancer, metastasis

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297922120203