The CXCL12-CXCR4 axis plays a vital role in many steps of breast cancer metastasis, but the molecular mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. We previously reported that activation of CXCR4 by CXCL12 promotes the nuclear localization of LASP1 (LIM and SH3 protein 1). The nuclear LASP1 then interacts with Snail1 in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines. In this study, we report that the nuclear accumulation and retention of Snail1 was dependent on an increase in nuclear LASP1 levels driven by active CXCR4. The CXCR4-LASP1 axis may directly regulate the stabilization of nuclear Snail1, by upregulating nuclear levels of pS473-Akt, pS9-GSK-3β, A20, and LSD1. Furthermore, the activation of CXCR4 induced association of LASP1 with Snail1, A20, GSK-3β, and LSD1 endogenously. Thus, nuclear LASP1 may also regulate protein-protein interactions that facilitate the stability of Snail1. Genetic ablation of LASP1 resulted in the mislocalization of nuclear Snail1, loss of the ability of TNBC cells to invade Matrigel and a dysregulated expression of both epithelial and mesenchymal markers, including an increased expression of ALDH1A1, a marker for epithelial breast cancer stem-like cells. Our findings reveal a novel role for the CXCR4-LASP1 axis in facilitating the stability of nuclear localized Snail1.
Keywords: A20; Akt; CXCR4; GSK-3β; LASP1; Snail1 stability.