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Cancer centre scientists link cellular trafficking networks to cancer cell invasion

This important work provides new insights into how cancer cells function and how they migrate to invade adjacent tissues: April 2017

Colocalization of Ambra1 and FAK at cell adhesion sites. Scale bars 20µm
Colocalization of Ambra1 and FAK at cell adhesion sites. Scale bars 20µm.

Congratulations to Christina Schoenherr, Adam Byron, Bryan Serrels, Margaret Frame and colleagues, whose article entitled “Ambra1 spatially regulates Src activity and Src/FAK-mediated cancer cell invasion via trafficking networks” has been recently published in eLife.

In the paper the Centre researchers describe a completely new function for the autophagy protein Ambra1. They demonstrate that Ambra1 acts as a “spatial rheostat” that controls cellular localization of Src and FAK – two proteins known to play important roles in cellular adhesion and cancer cell motility. The study shows that Ambra1 binds to both FAK and Src in cancer cells and can be recruited to cell adhesion sites promoting cancer cell direction-sensing and invasive migration. Further, Ambra1 is part of a large intracellular network of proteins that are involved in cellular trafficking. Ambra1 and other proteins of that network regulate proper levels and localization of Src and FAK at focal adhesions as well as the trafficking of Src.

This important work provides new insights into how cancer cells function and how they migrate to invade adjacent tissues. Further, the study shows that proper movement, localization and activity of Src in cellular space needs to be highly controlled. It might guide future approaches to target cancer cell motility and invasion – processes directly implicated in cancer spread and metastasis to distant organs.

Links

article: https://elifesciences.org/content/6/e23172

eLife: https://elifesciences.org/about

autophagy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autophagy

cellular adhesion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_adhesion

cell motility: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_migration

metastasis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metastasis