Metastasis-associated protein S100A4: spotlight on its role in cell migration

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2007 May;7(3):217-28. doi: 10.2174/156800907780618329.


S100A4 (also known as Mts1, metastasin, p9Ka, pEL98, CAPL, calvasculin, Fsp-1, placental calcium-binding protein) belongs to the family of EF-hand calcium-binding proteins, whose expression is elevated in a number of pathological conditions. Although it is well documented that S100A4 is expressed in cancer cells and contributes to tumor cell motility and metastatic progression, the exact underlying mechanisms remain elusive. An important characteristic feature of S100 proteins is their dual function, inside and outside the cell. In this review, we focus on the intracellular function of S100A4. The review contains structural analysis of S1004 in comparison with other members of S100 proteins. Possible modes of the interaction of S100 proteins with targets are described. Several examples of best-studied molecular interactions involving S100A4 with heavy chain of nonmuscle myosin IIA, LAR-interacting protein liprin beta1 and tumor suppressor protein p53 are provided. We suggest that the binding of S100A4 to these molecules is critical for the S100A4 function. Further studies of the implications of these interactions in different molecular pathways may shed additional light on the role of S100A4 protein in the control of tumor cell motility and migration. We discuss the approaches for down-regulation of S100A4 expression and their potential for application in the clinics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • S100 Calcium-Binding Protein A4
  • S100 Proteins / chemistry*
  • S100 Proteins / genetics
  • S100 Proteins / metabolism
  • S100 Proteins / physiology*


  • S100 Calcium-Binding Protein A4
  • S100 Proteins
  • S100A4 protein, human