Recently, we discovered that the loss of E-cadherin induces c-Jun protein expression, which is a member of the AP-1 transcription factor family and a key player in the processes of cell proliferation and tumor development and also found in elevated levels in melanomas. Notably, the mRNA level of c-Jun was not affected, suggesting that c-Jun is regulated at post-transcriptional level. Here, we present data that suggest that the dynamic cytoskeletal network, linked to E-cadherin, is involved in the regulation of the c-Jun protein and transcriptional activity. In a signaling cascade, the loss of E-cadherin activates the transcriptional regulator ETS-1 and consequently leads to the induction of RhoC expression that stabilizes c-Jun in melanoma. The link between RhoC and c-Jun seems to be indirect via the cytoskeleton. We conclude that the loss of E-cadherin mediated cell-adhesion induces c-Jun protein expression in a multistep process, offering several possibilities for therapeutic intervention.
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