TRAP1 controls cell migration of cancer cells in metabolic stress conditions: Correlations with AKT/p70S6K pathways

Ilenia Agliarulo, Danilo Swann Matassa, Maria Rosaria Amoroso, Francesca Maddalena, Lorenza Sisinni, Leandra Sepe, Maria Carla Ferrari, Diana Arzeni, Rosario Avolio, Giovanni Paolella, Matteo Landriscina, Franca Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell motility is a highly dynamic phenomenon that is essential to physiological processes such as morphogenesis, wound healing and immune response, but also involved in pathological conditions such as metastatic dissemination of cancers. The involvement of the molecular chaperone TRAP1 in the regulation of cell motility, although still controversial, has been recently investigated along with some well-characterized roles in cancer cell survival and drug resistance in several tumour types. Among different functions, TRAP1-dependent regulation of protein synthesis seems to be involved in the migratory behaviour of cancer cells and, interestingly, the expression of p70S6K, a kinase responsible for translation initiation, playing a role in cell motility, is regulated by TRAP1. In this study, we demonstrate that TRAP1 silencing enhances cell motility in vitro but compromises the ability of cells to overcome stress conditions, and that this effect is mediated by the AKT/p70S6K pathway. In fact: i) inhibition of p70S6K activity specifically reduces migration in TRAP1 knock-down cells; ii) nutrient deprivation affects p70S6K activity thereby impairing cell migration only in TRAP1-deficient cells; iii) TRAP1 regulates the expression of both AKT and p70S6K at post-transcriptional level; and iii) TRAP1 silencing modulates the expression of genes involved in cell motility and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Notably, a correlation between TRAP1 and AKT expression is found in vivo in human colorectal tumours. These results provide new insights into TRAP1 role in the regulation of cell migration in cancer cells, tumour progression and metastatic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2570-2579
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • AKT/p70S6K pathway
  • Colorectal carcinoma
  • Metastasis
  • TRAP1
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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