Introduction: The RAS signaling pathway is an important growth-promoting pathway that controls cell proliferation and survival in multicellular organisms. During oncogenesis, activation of EGFR/HER2/K-RAS signaling pathway reduces focal adhesion, increases cell motility, promote tumorigenesis and accelerate tumor invasion and metastasis. SIAH2, which is the human homologue of a highly conserved family of RING-domain E3 ubiquitin ligase, is a key downstream signaling component which is essential for RAS signal transduction. We noticed that SIAH2 can regulate cell migration, tumorigenesis and metastasis by unknown mechanisms.

Methods: Using HIV-based lentiviral system, we introduced an anti-SIAH molecule, the proteolysis-deficient mutant form of SIAH2 (SIAH2PD), into multiple types of human cancer cell lines. The changes of cell morphology, focal adhesion and adherens junction were examined by immunofluorescence (IF) staining. Images were captured on day 3 post infection experiments to show the changes in cell focal adhesion/junction. Using lentiviral system, we introduced exogenous LIM-domain proteins into human cancer cell lines which already expressed SIAH2PD, and then check the cell focal adhesion rescue by immunofluorescence staining.

Results: We identified and validated three proteins that interact with SIAH2, contain LIM domains, and regulate focal adhesion and cell attachment. Through in vitro and in vivo experiments, we show that SIAH2 binds, ubiquitinates and degrades thyroid receptor-interacting protein 6 (TRIP6), Four-and-a-half LIM domain protein 2 (FHL2) and Leupaxin (LPXN), indicating that these evolutionarily conserved LIM-domain proteins are bona fide SIAH2 substrates and their double zinc finger motif might serve as a degron signal for SIAH2 E3 ligase. Our staining results showed that SIAH-deficiency would disrupt Trip6/FHL2/LPXN localization at the focal adhesion site, and inhibit cell motility. By introducing exogenous Trip6/FHL2/LPXN proteins into cancer cells, the focal adhesion deficiency and cell death caused by SIAHPD can be rescued, and the ability of cell migration and tumor initiation can be restored.

Conclusions: We show that in cancer cells, SIAH2 antagonizes TRIP6, FHL2 and LPXN in modulating focal adhesions and cell motility. This interaction could be important in cell dissemination, invasion and metastasis. The suppression of cell motility and tumorigenesis in response to SIAH-deficiency could provide a new molecular mechanism to reveal the importance of RAS/SIAH signaling pathway in cancer cells. By circumventing this essential cell growth signaling pathway in cancer, we hope to develop novel anti-SIAH-based therapeutic drugs, which may help to inhibit cancer cell dissemination, invasion and metastasis.

Citation Format: Minglei Bian, Yang Liao, Monicah Njogu, Rebecca Schmidt, Rie Takahashi, Zandra Walton, Amy H. Tang. SIAH2 E3 ligase targets LIM-domain proteins for degradation to modulate focal adhesion and cell motility. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 5049.