The Histochemical journal

A role for SSeCKS, a major protein kinase C substrate with tumour suppressor activity, in cytoskeletal architecture, formation of migratory processes, and cell migration during embryogenesis.

PMID 10805381


SSeCKS is a major protein kinase C substrate which has tumour suppressor activity in models of src- and ras-induced oncogenic transformation. The mitogenic regulatory activity of SSeCKS is likely manifested by its ability to bind key signalling proteins such as protein kinases C and A and calmodulin, and to control actin-based cytoskeletal architecture. Rat SSeCKS shares extensive homology with human Gravin, an autoantigen in myasthenia gravis that encodes kinase scaffolding functions and whose expression pattern in fibroblasts and nerves suggests a role in cell motility. Here, we analyse the expression of SSeCKS and Gravin in rodent and human fibroblast and epithelial cell lines using antibodies specific or crossreactive for SSeCKS or Gravin. SSeCKS expression was then analysed in developing mouse embryos and in adult tissues. In the foetal mouse, early SSeCKS protein expression (E10-11) is focused in the loose mesenchyme, luminal surface of the neural tube, notochord, early heart and pericardium, urogenital ridge, and dorsal and ventral sections of limb buds. In later stages (E12-14), SSeCKS is widely expressed in mesenchymal cells but is absent in the spinal ganglia. By E15, SSeCKS expression is ubiquitous, although the staining pattern varies from being striated within smooth muscle sarcomeres to filamentous in mesenchymal and select epithelial cells. In the adult mouse, SSeCKS staining is relatively ubiquitous, with highest expression in the gonads, smooth and cardiac muscle, lung, brain and heart. High expression is also detected in fibroblasts and nerve fibres as well as in more specialized cells such as glomerular mesangial cells and testicular Sertoli cells. SSeCKS expression in the rat testes correlates with the induction of puberty, and in mature mouse spermatozoa, SSeCKS is found in peripheral acrosome membranes and in a helix-like winding pattern within the midsection. Periodic enrichments of SSeCKS are found in sperm midsections and in developing axons, suggesting a role in architectural infrastructure. As with Gravin, high SSeCKS expression is absent in most epithelial cells; however, in contrast to Gravin, SSeCKS is expressed in Purkinje cells, cardiac muscle, macrophages and hepatic stellate cells, indicating overlapping yet distinct patterns of tissue expression in the SSeCKS/Gravin family. The data suggest roles for SSeCKS in the control of cytoskeletal and tissue architecture, formation of migratory processes and cell migration during embryogenesis.

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