Angiogenin enhances cell migration by regulating stress fiber assembly and focal adhesion dynamics

PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28797. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028797. Epub 2011 Dec 14.


Angiogenin (ANG) acts on both vascular endothelial cells and cancer cells, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In this study, we carried out a co-immunoprecipitation assay in HeLa cells and identified 14 potential ANG-interacting proteins. Among these proteins, β-actin, α-actinin 4, and non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 are stress fiber components and involved in cytoskeleton organization and movement, which prompted us to investigate the mechanism of action of ANG in cell migration. Upon confirmation of the interactions between ANG and the three proteins, further studies revealed that ANG co-localized with β-actin and α-actinin 4 at the leading edge of migrating cells. Down-regulation of ANG resulted in fewer but thicker stress fibers with less dynamics, which was associated with the enlargements of focal adhesions. The focal adhesion kinase activity and cell migration capacity were significantly decreased in ANG-deficient cells. Taken together, our data demonstrated that the existence of ANG in the cytoplasm optimizes stress fiber assembly and focal adhesion formation to accommodate cell migration. The finding that ANG promoted cancer cell migration might provide new clues for tumor metastasis research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Focal Adhesions / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism
  • Ribonuclease, Pancreatic / deficiency
  • Ribonuclease, Pancreatic / metabolism*
  • Stress Fibers / metabolism*


  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • angiogenin
  • Ribonuclease, Pancreatic