Autophagy Promotes Focal Adhesion Disassembly and Cell Motility of Metastatic Tumor Cells through the Direct Interaction of Paxillin with LC3
OPEN Cell reports | 18 May 2016
MN Sharifi, EE Mowers, LE Drake, C Collier, H Chen, M Zamora, S Mui and KF Macleod
Autophagy is a conserved catabolic process that plays a housekeeping role in eliminating protein aggregates and organelles and is activated during nutrient deprivation to generate metabolites and energy. Autophagy plays a significant role in tumorigenesis, although opposing context-dependent functions of autophagy in cancer have complicated efforts to target autophagy for therapeutic purposes. We demonstrate that autophagy inhibition reduces tumor cell migration and invasion in vitro and attenuates metastasis in vivo. Numerous abnormally large focal adhesions (FAs) accumulate in autophagy-deficient tumor cells, reflecting a role for autophagy in FA disassembly through targeted degradation of paxillin. We demonstrate that paxillin interacts with processed LC3 through a conserved LIR motif in the amino-terminal end of paxillin and that this interaction is regulated by oncogenic SRC activity. Together, these data establish a function for autophagy in FA turnover, tumor cell motility, and metastasis.
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