Involvement of small GTPases Rho and Rac in the invasion of rat ascites hepatoma cells

Clin Exp Metastasis. 1999 Mar;17(2):141-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1006598531238.


Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) triggers the invasion of a mesothelial cell monolayer by rat ascites hepatoma (MM1) cells. LPA also induces rapid morphological changes of MM1 cells, cell surface blebbing and pseudopodia formation. Pseudopodia formation is tightly correlated with cellular invasiveness. Clostridium Botulinum C3 exoenzyme and genistein abrogated the formation of blebs and pseudopodia together with the inhibition of invasion, indicating that GTPase Rho and certain tyrosine kinases are involved in both processes. MM1 cells expressing constitutively active Rho exhibited the invasion and the formation of blebs and pseudopodia in the absence of LPA. In contrast, MM1 cells expressing constitutively active Rac were not invasive in the absence of LPA, but were invasive in the presence of LPA. Their morphological response to LPA was almost the same as that of parental MM1 cells. Expression of dominant negative Rac suppressed the invasiveness to approximately 3% of that of parental MM1 cells, together with the inhibition of pseudopodia formation. Thus, Rho and Rac are cooperatively involved in both the invasion and the related morphological changes of MM1 cells. Rho activation is sufficient both for the induction of invasion and the morphological changes leading to the invasion, whereas Rac activation is necessary but not sufficient by itself. We propose that Rho activation is not mediated by Rac but the cooperation of both GTPases is essential to trigger the invasive behavior of MM1 cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascitic Fluid / enzymology
  • Ascitic Fluid / pathology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Clostridium botulinum / enzymology
  • Epithelium / enzymology
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / genetics
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / physiology*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Genistein / pharmacology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / enzymology*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Lysophospholipids / pharmacology*
  • Microscopy
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Pseudopodia / pathology
  • Rats
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Proteins
  • Genistein
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins