More than half of HNSCC patients are diagnosed with advanced disease. Locally advanced HNSCC is characterized by tumors with marked local invasion and evidence of metastasis to regional lymph nodes. CAV2 is a major coat protein of caveolins, important components of the plasma membrane. In this study, CAV2 was found to profoundly promote invasion and stimulate metastasis in vivo and in vitro. CAV2 was demonstrated to be a key regulator of S100 protein expression that upregulates the proteins levels of S100s, which promotes the invasion and migration and downregulates the expression of tumor suppressors. Mechanistically, CAV2 directly interacts with S100s in HNSCC cells, and CAV2 reduces S100A14 protein expression by promoting its ubiquitylation and subsequent degradation via the proteasome. Moreover, we discovered that CAV2 promotes the interaction between S100A14 and the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM29 and increases TRIM29 expression. Taken together, our findings indicate that CAV2 promotes HNSCC invasion and metastasis by regulating the expression of S100 proteins, presenting a novel potential target for anticancer therapy in HNSCC.
© 2022. The Author(s).