Cancer is a highly lethal disease that is characterized by aberrant cell proliferation, migration, and adhesion, which are closely related to the dynamic changes of cytoskeletons and cytoskeletal-adhesion. These will further result in cell invasion and metastasis. Plakins are a family of giant cytolinkers that connect cytoskeletal elements with each other and to junctional complexes. With various isoforms composed of different domain structures, mammalian plakins are broadly expressed in numerous tissues. They play critical roles in many cellular processes, including cell proliferation, migration, adhesion, and signaling transduction. As these cellular processes are key steps in cancer development, mammalian plakins have in recent years attracted more and more attention for their potential roles in cancer. Current evidence shows the importance of mammalian plakins in various human cancers and demonstrates mammalian plakins as potential biomarkers for cancer. Here, we introduce the basic characteristics of mammalian plakins, review the recent advances in understanding their biological functions, and highlight their roles in human cancers, based on studies performed by us and others. This will provide researchers with a comprehensive understanding of mammalian plakins, new insights into the development of cancer, and novel targets for cancer diagnosis and therapy.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited