Phosphorylation of Rab-coupling protein by LMTK3 controls Rab14-dependent EphA2 trafficking to promote cell:cell repulsion

Nat Commun. 2017 Mar 15;8:14646. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14646.


The Rab GTPase effector, Rab-coupling protein (RCP) is known to promote invasive behaviour in vitro by controlling integrin and receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) trafficking, but how RCP influences metastasis in vivo is unclear. Here we identify an RTK of the Eph family, EphA2, to be a cargo of an RCP-regulated endocytic pathway which controls cell:cell repulsion and metastasis in vivo. Phosphorylation of RCP at Ser435 by Lemur tyrosine kinase-3 (LMTK3) and of EphA2 at Ser897 by Akt are both necessary to promote Rab14-dependent (and Rab11-independent) trafficking of EphA2 which generates cell:cell repulsion events that drive tumour cells apart. Genetic disruption of RCP or EphA2 opposes cell:cell repulsion and metastasis in an autochthonous mouse model of pancreatic adenocarcinoma-whereas conditional knockout of another RCP cargo, α5 integrin, does not suppress pancreatic cancer metastasis-indicating a role for RCP-dependent trafficking of an Eph receptor to drive tumour dissemination in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Phosphoserine / metabolism
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteomics
  • Receptor, EphA2 / metabolism*
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RAB11FIP1 protein, human
  • Phosphoserine
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Receptor, EphA2
  • LMTK3 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Rab14 protein, human
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins