Research ArticleCancer

The Small GTPase ARF6 Stimulates β-Catenin Transcriptional Activity During WNT5A-Mediated Melanoma Invasion and Metastasis

Science Signaling  05 Mar 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 265, pp. ra14
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003398

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Abstract

β-Catenin has a dual function in cells: fortifying cadherin-based adhesion at the plasma membrane and activating transcription in the nucleus. We found that in melanoma cells, WNT5A stimulated the disruption of N-cadherin and β-catenin complexes by activating the guanosine triphosphatase adenosine diphosphate ribosylation factor 6 (ARF6). Binding of WNT5A to the Frizzled 4–LRP6 (low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 6) receptor complex activated ARF6, which liberated β-catenin from N-cadherin, thus increasing the pool of free β-catenin, enhancing β-catenin–mediated transcription, and stimulating invasion. In contrast to WNT5A, the guidance cue SLIT2 and its receptor ROBO1 inhibited ARF6 activation and, accordingly, stabilized the interaction of N-cadherin with β-catenin and reduced transcription and invasion. Thus, ARF6 integrated competing signals in melanoma cells, thereby enabling plasticity in the response to external cues. Moreover, small-molecule inhibition of ARF6 stabilized adherens junctions, blocked β-catenin signaling and invasiveness of melanoma cells in culture, and reduced spontaneous pulmonary metastasis in mice, suggesting that targeting ARF6 may provide a means of inhibiting WNT/β-catenin signaling in cancer.

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