• Rac1 regulates neuronal polarization through the WAVE complex.

      Tahirovic, Sabina; Hellal, Farida; Neukirchen, Dorothee; Hindges, Robert; Garvalov, Boyan K; Flynn, Kevin C; Stradal, Theresia E; Chrostek-Grashoff, Anna; Brakebusch, Cord; Bradke, Frank; et al. (2010-05-19)
      Neuronal migration and axon growth, key events during neuronal development, require distinct changes in the cytoskeleton. Although many molecular regulators of polarity have been identified and characterized, relatively little is known about their physiological role in this process. To study the physiological function of Rac1 in neuronal development, we have generated a conditional knock-out mouse, in which Rac1 is ablated in the whole brain. Rac1-deficient cerebellar granule neurons, which do not express other Rac isoforms, showed impaired neuronal migration and axon formation both in vivo and in vitro. In addition, Rac1 ablation disrupts lamellipodia formation in growth cones. The analysis of Rac1 effectors revealed the absence of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) family verprolin-homologous protein (WAVE) complex from the plasma membrane of knock-out growth cones. Loss of WAVE function inhibited axon growth, whereas overexpression of a membrane-tethered WAVE mutant partially rescued axon growth in Rac1-knock-out neurons. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of the WAVE complex effector Arp2/3 also reduced axon growth. We propose that Rac1 recruits the WAVE complex to the plasma membrane to enable actin remodeling necessary for axon growth.
    • Snail regulates cell survival and inhibits cellular senescence in human metastatic prostate cancer cell lines.

      Emadi Baygi, Modjtaba; Soheili, Zahra Soheila; Schmitz, Ingo; Sameie, Shahram; Schulz, Wolfgang A; Department of Genetics, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran. (2010-12)
      The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is regarded as an important step in cancer metastasis. Snail, a master regulator of EMT, has been recently proposed to act additionally as a cell survival factor and inducer of motility. We have investigated the function of Snail (SNAI1) in prostate cancer cells by downregulating its expression via short (21-mer) interfering RNA (siRNA) and measuring the consequences on EMT markers, cell viability, death, cell cycle, senescence, attachment, and invasivity. Of eight carcinoma cell lines, the prostate carcinoma cell lines LNCaP and PC-3 showed the highest and moderate expression of SNAI1 mRNA, respectively, as measured by quantitative RT-PCR. Long-term knockdown of Snail induced a severe decline in cell numbers in LNCaP and PC-3 and caspase activity was accordingly enhanced in both cell lines. In addition, suppression of Snail expression induced senescence in LNCaP cells. SNAI1-siRNA-treated cells did not tolerate detachment from the extracellular matrix, probably due to downregulation of integrin α6. Expression of E-cadherin, vimentin, and fibronectin was also affected. Invasiveness of PC-3 cells was not significantly diminished by Snail knockdown. Our data suggest that Snail acts primarily as a survival factor and inhibitor of cellular senescence in prostate cancer cell lines. We therefore propose that Snail can act as early driver of prostate cancer progression.
    • Theoretical model for cellular shapes driven by protrusive and adhesive forces.

      Kabaso, Doron; Shlomovitz, Roie; Schloen, Kathrin; Stradal, Theresia; Gov, Nir S; Department of Chemical Physics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. (2011-05)
      The forces that arise from the actin cytoskeleton play a crucial role in determining the cell shape. These include protrusive forces due to actin polymerization and adhesion to the external matrix. We present here a theoretical model for the cellular shapes resulting from the feedback between the membrane shape and the forces acting on the membrane, mediated by curvature-sensitive membrane complexes of a convex shape. In previous theoretical studies we have investigated the regimes of linear instability where spontaneous formation of cellular protrusions is initiated. Here we calculate the evolution of a two dimensional cell contour beyond the linear regime and determine the final steady-state shapes arising within the model. We find that shapes driven by adhesion or by actin polymerization (lamellipodia) have very different morphologies, as observed in cells. Furthermore, we find that as the strength of the protrusive forces diminish, the system approaches a stabilization of a periodic pattern of protrusions. This result can provide an explanation for a number of puzzling experimental observations regarding cellular shape dependence on the properties of the extra-cellular matrix.