Interaction between p68 RNA helicase and Ca2+-calmodulin promotes cell migration and metastasis

Nat Commun. 2013:4:1354. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2345.


p68 RNA helicase is a prototypical RNA helicase. Here we present evidence to show that, by interacting with Ca-calmodulin, p68 has a role in cancer metastasis and cell migration. A peptide fragment that spans the IQ motif of p68 strongly inhibits cancer metastasis in two different animal models. The peptide interrupts p68 and Ca-calmodulin interaction and inhibits cell migration. Our results demonstrate that the p68-Ca-calmodulin interaction is essential for the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia in migrating cells. p68 interacts with microtubules in the presence of Ca-calmodulin. Our experiments show that interaction with microtubules stimulates p68 ATPase activity. Further, microtubule gliding assays demonstrate that p68, in the presence of Ca-calmodulin, can function as a microtubule motor. This motor activity may allow p68 to transport Ca-calmodulin to the leading edge of migrating cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calmodulin / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement* / drug effects
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / chemistry
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Calmodulin
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Peptides
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases
  • Calcium