Depletion of Ras Suppressor-1 (RSU-1) promotes cell invasion of breast cancer cells through a compensatory upregulation of a truncated isoform
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Extracellular matrix (ECM)-adhesion proteins and actin cytoskeleton are pivotal in cancer cell invasion. Ras Suppressor-1 (RSU-1), a cell-ECM adhesion protein that interacts with PINCH-1, thus being connected to Integrin Linked Kinase (ILK), alpha-parvin (PARVA), and actin cytoskeleton, is up-regulated in metastatic breast cancer (BC) samples. Apart from the originally-identified gene (RSU-1L), an alternatively-spliced isoform (RSU-1-X1) has been reported. We used non-invasive MCF-7 cells, expressing only RSU-1L, and highly invasive MDA-MB-231-LM2 expressing both isoforms and generated stable shRNA-transduced cells lacking RSU-1L, while the truncated RSU-1-X1 isoform was depleted by siRNA-mediated silencing. RSU-1L depletion in MCF-7 cells resulted in complete abrogation of tumor spheroid invasion in three-dimensional collagen gels, whereas it promoted MDA-MB-231-LM2 invasion, through a compensatory upregulation of RSU-1-X1. When RSU-1-X1 was also eliminated, RSU-1L-depletion-induced migration and invasion were drastically reduced being accompanied by reduced urokinase plasminogen activator expression. Protein expression analysis in 23 human BC samples corroborated our findings showing RSU-1L to be upregulated and RSU-1-X1 downregulated in metastatic samples. We demonstrate for the first time, that both RSU-1 isoforms promote invasion in vitro while RSU-1L elimination induces RSU-1-X1 upregulation to compensate for the loss. Hence, we propose that both isoforms should be blocked to effectively eliminate metastasis.