Research Papers:

CRP2, a new invadopodia actin bundling factor critically promotes breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis

Céline Hoffmann, Xianqing Mao, Monika Dieterle, Flora Moreau, Antoun Al Absi, André Steinmetz, Anaïs Oudin, Guy Berchem, Bassam Janji and Clément Thomas _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:13688-13705. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7327

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Céline Hoffmann1,*, Xianqing Mao1,*, Monika Dieterle1,2, Flora Moreau1, Antoun Al Absi1, André Steinmetz3, Anaïs Oudin2, Guy Berchem1, Bassam Janji1 and Clément Thomas1

1 Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research, Department of Oncology, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

2 NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory, Department of Oncology, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

3 Department of Oncology, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Clément Thomas, email:

Keywords: actin cytoskeleton, breast cancer, invadopodia, invasion, LIM domain, MMP-9

Received: October 26, 2015 Accepted: January 27, 2016 Published: February 11, 2016


A critical process underlying cancer metastasis is the acquisition by tumor cells of an invasive phenotype. At the subcellular level, invasion is facilitated by actin-rich protrusions termed invadopodia, which direct extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation. Here, we report the identification of a new cytoskeletal component of breast cancer cell invadopodia, namely cysteine-rich protein 2 (CRP2). We found that CRP2 was not or only weakly expressed in epithelial breast cancer cells whereas it was up-regulated in mesenchymal/invasive breast cancer cells. In addition, high expression of the CRP2 encoding gene CSRP2 was associated with significantly increased risk of metastasis in basal-like breast cancer patients. CRP2 knockdown significantly reduced the invasive potential of aggressive breast cancer cells, whereas it did not impair 2D cell migration. In keeping with this, CRP2-depleted breast cancer cells exhibited a reduced capacity to promote ECM degradation, and to secrete and express MMP-9, a matrix metalloproteinase repeatedly associated with cancer progression and metastasis. In turn, ectopic expression of CRP2 in weakly invasive cells was sufficient to stimulate cell invasion. Both GFP-fused and endogenous CRP2 localized to the extended actin core of invadopodia, a structure primarily made of actin bundles. Purified recombinant CRP2 autonomously crosslinked actin filaments into thick bundles, suggesting that CRP2 contributes to the formation/maintenance of the actin core. Finally, CRP2 depletion significantly reduced the incidence of lung metastatic lesions in two xenograft mouse models of breast cancer. Collectively, our data identify CRP2 as a new cytoskeletal component of invadopodia that critically promotes breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis.

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