Bachelor of Science, Peking University (2011)
Doctor of Philosophy, Duke University (2016)
Metastasis is the main cause of death in cancer patients but remains a poorly understood process. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is one of the most lethal and most metastatic cancer types. SCLC cells normally express neuroendocrine and neuronal gene programs but accumulating evidence indicates that these cancer cells become relatively more neuronal and less neuroendocrine as they gain the ability to metastasize. Here we show that mouse and human SCLC cells in culture and in vivo can grow cellular protrusions that resemble axons. The formation of these protrusions is controlled by multiple neuronal factors implicated in axonogenesis, axon guidance, and neuroblast migration. Disruption of these axon-like protrusions impairs cell migration in culture and inhibits metastatic ability in vivo. The co-option of developmental neuronal programs is a novel molecular and cellular mechanism that contributes to the high metastatic ability of SCLC.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.50616
View details for PubMedID 31833833
Endosomal membrane trafficking requires coordination between phosphoinositide lipids, Rab GTPases, and microtubule-based motors to dynamically determine endosome identity and promote long-range organelle transport. Here we report that ankyrin-B (AnkB), through integrating all three systems, functions as a critical node in the protein circuitry underlying polarized recycling of α5β1-integrin in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, which enables persistent fibroblast migration along fibronectin gradients. AnkB associates with phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P)-positive organelles in fibroblasts and binds dynactin to promote their long-range motility. We demonstrate that AnkB binds to Rab GTPase Activating Protein 1-Like (RabGAP1L) and recruits it to PI3P-positive organelles, where RabGAP1L inactivates Rab22A, and promotes polarized trafficking to the leading edge of migrating fibroblasts. We further determine that α5β1-integrin depends on an AnkB/RabGAP1L complex for polarized recycling. Our results reveal AnkB as an unexpected key element in coordinating polarized transport of α5β1-integrin and likely of other specialized endocytic cargos.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.20417
View details for PubMedID 27718357
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5089861
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