Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP) regulates a number of cellular processes, including cell migration. Exploring the role of RKIP in cell adhesion, we found that overexpression of RKIP in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells increases adhesion to the substratum, while decreasing adhesion of the cells to one another. The level of the adherens junction protein E-cadherin declines profoundly, and there is loss of normal localization of the tight junction protein ZO-1, while expression of the cell-substratum adhesion protein beta1 integrin dramatically increases. The cells also display increased adhesion and spreading on multiple substrata, including collagen, gelatin, fibronectin and laminin. In three-dimensional culture, RKIP overexpression leads to marked cell elongation and extension of long membrane protrusions into the surrounding matrix, and the cells do not form hollow cysts. RKIP-overexpressing cells generate considerably more contractile traction force than do control cells. In contrast, RNA interference-based silencing of RKIP expression results in decreased cell-substratum adhesion in both MDCK and MCF7 human breast adenocarcinoma cells. Treatment of MDCK and MCF7 cells with locostatin, a direct inhibitor of RKIP and cell migration, also reduces cell-substratum adhesion. Silencing of RKIP expression in MCF7 cells leads to a reduction in the rate of wound closure in a scratch-wound assay, although not as pronounced as that previously reported for RKIP-knockdown MDCK cells. These results suggest that RKIP has important roles in the regulation of cell adhesion, positively controlling cell-substratum adhesion while negatively controlling cell-cell adhesion, and underscore the complex functions of RKIP in cell physiology.
Copyright 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.