Research Papers:

Alendronate-induced disruption of actin cytoskeleton and inhibition of migration/invasion are associated with cofilin downregulation in PC-3 prostate cancer cells

Sanna S. Virtanen _, Tamiko Ishizu, Jouko A. Sandholm, Eliisa Löyttyniemi, H. Kalervo Väänänen, Johanna M. Tuomela and Pirkko L. Härkönen

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:32593-32608. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25961

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Sanna S. Virtanen1,2, Tamiko Ishizu1, Jouko A. Sandholm3, Eliisa Löyttyniemi4, H. Kalervo Väänänen1, Johanna M. Tuomela1 and Pirkko L. Härkönen1

1University of Turku, Institute of Biomedicine, FI-20520 Turku, Finland

2Turku University of Applied Sciences, Health and Well-being, FI-20520 Turku, Finland

3Cell Imaging Core, Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, FI-20521 Turku, Finland

4University of Turku, Department of Biostatistics, FI-20520 Turku, Finland

Correspondence to:

Sanna S. Virtanen, email: [email protected]

Keywords: bisphosphonate; prostate cancer; invasion; actin cytoskeleton; cofilin

Received: March 13, 2017    Accepted: July 28, 2018    Published: August 24, 2018


Bisphosphonates are used for prevention of osteoporosis and metastatic bone diseases. Anti-invasive effects on various cancer cells have also been reported, but the mechanisms involved are not well-understood. We investigated the effects of the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate alendronate (ALN) on the regulation of actin cytoskeleton in PC-3 cells. We analyzed the ALN effect on the organization and the dynamics of actin, and on the cytoskeleton-related regulatory proteins cofilin, p21-associated kinase 2 (PAK2), paxillin and focal adhesion kinase. Immunostainings of cofilin in ALN-treated PC-3 cells and xenografts were performed, and the role of cofilin in ALN-regulated F-actin organization and migration/invasion in PC-3 cells was analyzed using cofilin knockdown and transfection. We demonstrate that disrupted F-actin organization and decreased cell motility in ALN-treated PC-3 cells were associated with decreased levels of total and phosphorylated cofilin. PAK2 levels were also lowered but adhesion-related proteins were not altered. The knockdown of cofilin similarly impaired F-actin organization and decreased invasion of PC-3 cells, whereas in the cells transfected with a cofilin expressing vector, ALN treatment did not decrease cellular cofilin levels and migration as in mock transfected cells. ALN also reduced immunohistochemical staining of cofilin in PC-3 xenografts. Our results suggest that reduction of cofilin has an important role in ALN-induced disruption of the actin cytoskeleton and inhibition of the PC-3 cell motility and invasion. These data also support the idea that the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates could be efficacious in inhibition of prostate cancer invasion and metastasis, if delivered in a pharmacological formulation accessible to the tumors.

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