Ras-associated protein-1 regulates extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation and migration in melanoma cells: two processes important to melanoma tumorigenesis and metastasis

Gao L, Feng Y, Bowers R, Becker-Hapak M, Gardner J, Council L, Linette G, Zhao H, Cornelius LA
Source: Cancer Res
Publication Date: (2006)
Issue: 66(16): 7880-8
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Cells used in publication:
Species: human
Tissue Origin: dermal
Nucleofector® I/II/2b
Divisions of Dermatology and Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Pathology and Immunology, and Department of Medicine and Cell Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri. Melanoma is one of the most devastating malignances with a rising incidence and lack of effective treatments for advanced disease. Constitutive activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and altered expression of alpha(v)beta(3) integrin are critical for melanoma development and progression. Ras-associated protein-1 (Rap1), a Ras family member of the small GTPases, has emerged as a key mediator in these two important processes. In this study, we have shown Rap1 activation in cells derived from two human metastatic melanomas and also in three of seven cutaneous metastatic melanoma tissues. We found increased extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity in the tumors with detected Rap1 activity that interestingly harbored neither BRAF nor N-Ras mutation, suggesting a role for Rap1 in ERK activation in vivo. We also showed Rap1 and ERK activation by both hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and 8CPT-2Me-cAMP (an activator of Epac, a Rap1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor) in two human melanoma cell lines. In addition, the activation of ERK by HGF was reduced, at least in part, by small interfering RNAs against Rap1 and a dominant-negative Rap1. Finally, a functional role for Rap1 activation was shown by Rap1-induced alpha(v)beta(3) integrin activation and consequent increased melanoma cell migration in vitro. Taken together, these results show that Rap1 is involved in the activation of MAPK pathway and integrin activation in human melanoma and suggest a potential role for Rap1 in melanoma tumorigenesis and metastasis.