The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology

c-Cbl facilitates cytoskeletal effects in v-Abl transformed fibroblast through Rac1- and Rap1-mediated signaling.

PMID 18403249


c-Cbl functions as a multifunctional adaptor and an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Several studies have shown that c-Cbl is involved in cytoskeleton-mediated events, but the molecular mechanisms linking c-Cbl to cytoskeletal rearrangements remain to be elucidated. Our previous results indicated that c-Cbl facilitates spreading and migration of v-Abl-transformed NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and suggested that small GTPases play important roles in the cytoskeletal effects of c-Cbl in this system. To elucidate the individual contributions of small GTPases to these effects, we assessed the roles of endogenous Rac1, RhoA and Rap1 in the c-Cbl-dependent spreading and migration of v-Abl-transformed fibroblasts overexpressing c-Cbl, using RNAi. Furthermore, since it has been shown that Rap1 can act as an upstream regulator of Rac1 in inducing cell spreading, we analyzed the interplay between Rap1 and Rac1 in the signaling pathways connecting c-Cbl to the cytoskeletal events. Our results indicate that Rac1 is essential for cell migration and spreading, whereas activation of RhoA exerts a negative effect. We have also shown that Rap1 is essential for cell spreading, although not for migration in our experimental system. Furthermore, we provide evidence that Rap1 is located upstream of Rac1 in one of the signaling pathways that regulate c-Cbl-facilitated cell spreading. Overall, our findings are consistent with the model describing the connection of c-Cbl to the cytoskeletal rearrangements via two pathways, one of which is mediated by PI3K and Rac1, and the other, by CrkL/C3G, Rap1 and Rac1.