ShcD Binds DOCK4, Promotes Ameboid Motility and Metastasis Dissemination, Predicting Poor Prognosis in Melanoma

Ewa Aladowicz, Letizia Granieri, Federica Marocchi, Simona Punzi, Giuseppina Giardina, Pier Francesco Ferrucci, Giovanni Mazzarol, Maria Capra, Giuseppe Viale, Stefano Confalonieri, Sara Gandini, Fiorenza Lotti, Luisa Lanfrancone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metastases are the primary cause of cancer-related deaths. The underlying molecular and biological mechanisms remain, however, elusive, thus preventing the design of specific therapies. In melanomas, the metastatic process is influenced by the acquisition of metastasis-associated mutational and epigenetic traits and the activation of metastatic-specific signaling pathways in the primary melanoma. In the current study, we investigated the role of an adaptor protein of the Shc family (ShcD) in the acquisition of metastatic properties by melanoma cells, exploiting our cohort of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs). We provide evidence that the depletion of ShcD expression increases a spread cell shape and the capability of melanoma cells to attach to the extracellular matrix while its overexpression switches their morphology from elongated to rounded on 3D matrices, enhances cells' invasive phenotype, as observed on collagen gel, and favors metastasis formation in vivo. ShcD overexpression sustains amoeboid movement in melanoma cells, by suppressing the Rac1 signaling pathway through the confinement of DOCK4 in the cytoplasm. Inactivation of the ShcD signaling pathway makes melanoma cells more sensitive to therapeutic treatments. Consistently, ShcD expression predicts poor outcome in a cohort of 183 primary melanoma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 13 2020
Externally publishedYes


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