The Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor SWAP-70 Modulates the Migration and Invasiveness of Human Malignant Glioma Cells

Transl Oncol. 2009 Dec;2(4):300-9. doi: 10.1593/tlo.09172.


The malignant glioma is the most common primary human brain tumor. Its tendency to invade away from the primary tumor mass is considered a leading cause of tumor recurrence and treatment failure. Accordingly, the molecular pathogenesis of glioma invasion is currently under investigation. Previously, we examined a gene expression array database comparing human gliomas to nonneoplastic controls and identified several Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factors with differential expression. Here, we report that the guanine nucleotide exchange factor SWAP-70 has increased expression in malignant gliomas and strongly correlates with lowered patient survival. SWAP-70 is a multifunctional signaling protein involved in membrane ruffling that works cooperatively with activated Rac. Using a glioma tissue microarray, we validated that SWAP-70 demonstrates higher expression in malignant gliomas compared with low-grade gliomas or nonneoplastic brain tissue. Through immunofluorescence, SWAP-70 localizes to membrane ruffles in response to the growth factor, epidermal growth factor. To assess the role of SWAP-70 in glioma migration and invasion, we inhibited its expression withsmall interfering RNAs and observed decreased glioma cell migration and invasion. SWAP-70 overexpression led to increased levels of active Rac even in low-serum conditions. In addition, when SWAP-70 was overexpressed in glioma cells, we observed enhanced membrane ruffle formation followed by increased cellmigration and invasiveness. Taken together, our findings suggest that the guanine nucleotide exchange factor SWAP-70 plays an important role in the migration and invasion of human gliomas into the surrounding tissue.