The fifth sense: Mechanosensory regulation of alpha-actinin-4 and its relevance for cancer metastasis

Dustin G. Thomas, Douglas N. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Metastatic cancer cells invading through dense tumor stroma experience internal and external forces that are sensed through a variety of mechanosensory proteins that drive adaptations for specific environments. Alpha-actinin-4 (ACTN4) is a member of the α-actinin family of actin crosslinking proteins that is upregulated in several types of cancers. It shares 86% protein similarity with α-actinin-1, another non-muscle ACTN isoform, which appears to have a more modest role, if any, in cancer progression. While they share regulatory mechanisms, such as phosphorylation, calcium binding, phosphatidyl inositol binding, and calpain cleavage, α-actinin-4 exhibits a unique mechanosensory regulation that α-actinin-1 does not. This behavior is mediated, at least in part, by each protein's actin-binding affinity as well as the catch-slip-bond behavior of the actin binding domains. We will discuss currently known modes of ACTN4 regulation, their interactions, and how mechanosensation may provide major therapeutic targeting potential for cancer metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Volume71
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Actinin-4 regulation
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Mechanosensation
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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