Drosophila homologue of Diaphanous 1 (DIAPH1) regulates actin polymerization and microtubule (MT) stabilization upon stimulation with lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Recently, we showed strongly reduced lung metastasis of DIAPH1-depleted colon cancer cells but we found accumulations of DIAPH1-depleted cells in bone marrow. Here, we analyzed possible organ- or tissue-specific metastasis of DIAPH1-depleted HCT-116 cells. Our data confirmed that depletion of DIAPH1 strongly inhibited lung metastasis and revealed that, in contrast to control cells, DIAPH1-depleted cells did not form metastases in further organs. Detailed mechanistic analysis on cells that were not stimulated with LPA to activate the cytoskeleton-modulating activity of DIAPH1, revealed that even under basal conditions DIAPH1 was essential for cellular adhesion to collagen. In non-stimulated cells DIAPH1 did not control actin dynamics but, interestingly, was essential for stabilization of microtubules (MTs). Additionally, DIAPH1 controlled directed vesicle trafficking and with this, local clustering of the adhesion protein integrin-β1 at the plasma membrane. Therefore, we conclude that under non-stimulating conditions DIAPH1 controls cellular adhesion by stabilizing MTs required for local clustering of integrin-β1 at the plasma membrane. Thus, blockade of DIAPH1-tubulin interaction may be a promising approach to inhibit one of the earliest steps in the metastatic cascade of colon cancer.
Keywords: cellular adhesion; colon cancer; cytoskeleton; formins; metastasis.