Regulator of calcineurin 1 modulates cancer cell migration in vitro

Clin Exp Metastasis. 2009;26(6):517-26. doi: 10.1007/s10585-009-9251-1. Epub 2009 Mar 22.


Metastasis suppressors and other regulators of cell motility play an important role in tumor invasion and metastases. We previously identified that activation of the G protein coupled receptor 54 (GPR54) by the metastasis suppressor metastin inhibits cell migration in association with overexpression of Regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1), an endogenous regulator of calcineurin. Calcineurin inhibitors also blocked cell migration in vitro and RCAN1 protein levels were reduced in nodal metastases in thyroid cancer. The purpose of the current study was to determine directly if RCAN1 functions as a motility suppressor in vitro. Several cancer cell lines derived from different cancer types with different motility rates were evaluated for RCAN1 expression levels. Using these systems we determined that reduction of endogenous RCAN1 using siRNA resulted in an increase in cancer cell motility while expression of exogenous RCAN1 reduced cell motility. In one cell line with a high migratory rate, the stability of exogenously expressed RCAN1 protein was reduced and was rescued by treatment with a proteasome inhibitor. Finally, overexpression of RCAN1 was associated with an increase in cell adhesion to collagen IV and reduced calcineurin activity. In summary, we have demonstrated that the expression of exogenous RCAN1 reduces migration and alters adhesion; and that the loss of endogenous RCAN1 leads to an increase in migration in the examined cancer cell lines. These results are consistent with a regulatory role for RCAN1 in cancer cell motility in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Muscle Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics
  • Muscle Proteins / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • RCAN1 protein, human
  • Doxycycline