The mechanisms of tumor cell dissemination and the contribution of membrane trafficking in this process are poorly understood. Through a functional siRNA screening of human RAB GTPases, we found that RAB2A, a protein essential for ER-to-Golgi transport, is critical in promoting proteolytic activity and 3D invasiveness of breast cancer (BC) cell lines. Remarkably, RAB2A is amplified and elevated in human BC and is a powerful and independent predictor of disease recurrence in BC patients. Mechanistically, RAB2A acts at two independent trafficking steps. Firstly, by interacting with VPS39, a key component of the late endosomal HOPS complex, it controls post-endocytic trafficking of membrane-bound MT1-MMP, an essential metalloprotease for matrix remodeling and invasion. Secondly, it further regulates Golgi transport of E-cadherin, ultimately controlling junctional stability, cell compaction, and tumor invasiveness. Thus, RAB2A is a novel trafficking determinant essential for regulation of a mesenchymal invasive program of BC dissemination.
- cancer migration and invasion
- membrane trafficking
- RAB GTPases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology