Hypoxia enhances cancer cell invasion through relocalization of the proprotein convertase furin from the trans-golgi network to the cell surface

Authors

  • Dominique Arsenault,

    1. Immunology Division, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
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  • Fabrice Lucien,

    1. Immunology Division, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
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  • Claire M. Dubois

    Corresponding author
    1. Immunology Division, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
    • Immunology Division, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec J1H 5N4, Canada.
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Abstract

Tumor hypoxia is strongly associated with malignant progression such as increased cell invasion and metastasis. Although the invasion-related genes affected by hypoxia have been well described, the contribution of post-transcriptional mechanisms such as protein trafficking and proprotein processing associated with the hypoxic response remains poorly understood. The proprotein convertase furin, the major processing enzyme of the secretory pathway, resides in the trans-Golgi network and most studies support a model where endogenous substrates are processed by furin within this compartment. Here, we report that hypoxia triggered an unexpected relocalization of furin from the trans-Golgi network to endosomomal compartments and the cell surface in cancer cells. Exposing these cells back to normoxic conditions reversed furin redistribution, suggesting that the tumor microenvironment modulates furin trafficking in a highly regulated manner. Assessment of the mechanisms involved revealed that both Rab4GTPase-dependent recycling and interaction of furin with the cytoskeletal anchoring protein, filamin-A, are essential for the cell surface relocalization of furin. Interference with the association of furin with filamin-A, prevented cell surface relocalization of furin and abolished the ability of cancer cells to migrate in response to hypoxia. Our observations support the notion that hypoxia promotes the formation of a peripheral processing compartment where furin translocates for enhanced processing of proproteins involved in tumorigenesis. J. Cell. Physiol. 227: 789–800, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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