CRMP2 as a candidate target to interfere with lung cancer cell migration
Collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) is an adaptor protein that adds tubulin dimers to the growing tip of a microtubule. First described in neurons, it is now considered a ubiquitous protein that intervenes in processes such as cytoskeletal remodeling, synaptic connection and trafficking of voltage channels. Mounting evidence supports that CRMP2 plays an essential role in neuropathology and, more recently, in cancer. We have previously described a positive correlation between nuclear phosphorylation of CRMP2 and poor prognosis in lung adenocarcinoma patients. In this work, we studied whether this cytoskeleton molding protein is involved in cancer cell migration. To this aim, we evaluated CRMP2 phosphorylation and localization in the extending lamella of lung adenocarcinoma migrating cells using in vitro assays and in vivo confocal microscopy. We demonstrated that constitutive phosphorylation of CRMP2 impaired lamella formation, cell adhesion and oriented migration. In search of a mechanistic explanation of this phenomenon, we discovered that CRMP2 Ser522 phospho-mimetic mutants display unstable tubulin polymers, unable to bind EB1 plus-Tip protein and the cortical actin adaptor IQGAP1. In addition, integrin recycling is defective and invasive structures are less evident in these mutants. Significantly, mouse xenograft tumors of NSCLC expressing CRMP2 phosphorylation mimetic mutants grew significantly less than wild-type tumors.