The mechanisms by which TGF-β promotes lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) metastasis are largely unknown. Here, we report that in lung ADC cells, TGF-β potently induces expression of DOCK4, but not other DOCK family members, via the Smad pathway and that DOCK4 induction mediates TGF-β's prometastatic effects by enhancing tumor cell extravasation. TGF-β-induced DOCK4 stimulates lung ADC cell protrusion, motility, and invasion without affecting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. These processes, which are fundamental to tumor cell extravasation, are driven by DOCK4-mediated Rac1 activation, unveiling a novel link between TGF-β and Rac1. Thus, our findings uncover the atypical Rac1 activator DOCK4 as a key component of the TGF-β/Smad pathway that promotes lung ADC cell extravasation and metastasis.
Keywords: DOCK180 proteins; Rac1; TGF-β signaling; cell motility; lung adenocarcinoma metastasis; tumor cell extravasation.
© 2015 Yu et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.