Dynamic actin cytoskeletal reorganization is integral to cell motility. Profilins are well-characterized regulators of actin polymerization; however, functional differences among coexpressed profilin isoforms are not well defined. Here, we demonstrate that profilin-1 and profilin-2 differentially regulate membrane protrusion, motility, and invasion; these processes are promoted by profilin-1 and suppressed by profilin-2. Compared to profilin-1, profilin-2 preferentially drives actin polymerization by the Ena/VASP protein, EVL. Profilin-2 and EVL suppress protrusive activity and cell motility by an actomyosin contractility-dependent mechanism. Importantly, EVL or profilin-2 downregulation enhances invasion in vitro and in vivo. In human breast cancer, lower EVL expression correlates with high invasiveness and poor patient outcome. We propose that profilin-2/EVL-mediated actin polymerization enhances actin bundling and suppresses breast cancer cell invasion.
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