Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

BNIP-2 retards breast cancer cell migration by coupling microtubule-mediated GEF-H1 and RhoA activation

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Science Advances  31 Jul 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 31, eaaz1534
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz1534


Microtubules display dynamic turnover during cell migration, leading to cell contractility and focal adhesion maturation regulated by Rho guanosine triphosphatase activity. This interplay between microtubules and actomyosin is mediated by guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF)–H1 released after microtubule depolymerization or microtubule disconnection from focal adhesions. However, how GEF-H1 activates Rho upon microtubule disassembly remains elusive. Here, we found that BNIP-2, a BCH domain–containing protein that binds both RhoA and GEF-H1 and traffics with kinesin-1 on microtubules, is important for GEF-H1–driven RhoA activation upon microtubule disassembly. Depletion of BNIP-2 in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells decreases RhoA activity and promotes cell migration. Upon nocodazole-induced microtubule disassembly, the interaction between BNIP-2 and GEF-H1 increases, while knockdown of BNIP-2 reduces RhoA activation and cell rounding via uncoupling RhoA-GEF-H1 interaction. Together, these findings revealed that BNIP-2 couples microtubules and focal adhesions via scaffolding GEF-H1 and RhoA, fine-tuning RhoA activity and cell migration.

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