Serum- and glucocorticoid-dependent kinase-1-induced cell migration is dependent on vinculin and regulated by the membrane androgen receptor


C. Stournaras, Department of Biochemistry, University of Crete Medical School, GR-71110 Heraklion, Greece
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The serum- and glucocorticoid-dependent kinases 1–3 (SGK1–3) are downstream effectors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases, implicated in various cell responses including colon cancer tumorigenesis in mice. Here, we investigated the role of SGK1 in the regulation of cell motility. Using Caco-2 colon tumor and HEK293 embryonic kidney cells, we report that transfection with the constitutively active SGK1 mutant (SGK1-SD) significantly enhanced cell motility. The cell-adhesion protein vinculin was effectively dephosphorylated in SGK1-SD-transfected cells. Treatment of the cells with phosphatase inhibitors restored vinculin phosphorylation and inhibited cell migration, indicating a significant role for vinculin phosphorylation in SGK1-induced motility. SGK1-SD-enhanced cell motility was inhibited by activation of membrane androgen-binding sites (mAR) via testosterone-conjugates in both cell lines, whereas intracellular androgen receptor (iAR)-silencing and flutamide treatment revealed that these effects were clearly independent of the interaction of SGK1 with the classical androgen receptors (iAR). More importantly, mAR activation restored vinculin phosphorylation in SGK1-SD-transfected cells, whereas silencing of vinculin fully reversed the mAR-induced inhibition of the migratory capacity, implying that this protein is directly involved in cell motility regulation by SGK1 and mAR. This study indicates for the first time that SGK1 regulates cell migration via vinculin dephosphorylation, a mechanism that is controlled by mAR function.