Specific role of RhoC in tumor invasion and metastasis

Sarah Lang, Hauke Busch, Melanie Boerries, Tilman Brummer, Sylvia Timme, Silke Lassmann, Klaus Aktories, Gudula Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Rho GTPases are regulators of many cellular functions and are often dysregulated in cancer. However, the precise role of Rho proteins for tumor development is not well understood. In breast cancer, overexpression of RhoC is linked with poor prognosis. Here, we aim to compare the function of RhoC and its homolog family member RhoA in breast cancer progression. We established stable breast epithelial cell lines with inducible expression of RhoA and RhoC, respectively. Moreover, we made use of Rhoactivating bacterial toxins (Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factors) to stimulate the endogenous pool of Rho GTPases in benign breast epithelial cells and simultaneously knocked down specific Rho proteins. Whereas activation of Rho GTPases was sufficient to induce an invasive phenotype in three-dimensional culture systems, overexpression of RhoA or RhoC were not. However, RhoC but not RhoA was required for invasion, whereas RhoA and RhoC equally regulated proliferation. We further identified downstream target genes of RhoC involved in invasion and identified PTGS2 (COX-2) being preferentially upregulated by RhoC. Consistently, the COX-2 inhibitor Celecoxib blocked the invasive phenotype induced by the Rho-activating toxins.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number50
Pages (from-to)87364-87378
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2017


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