S100P protein is a potent inducer of metastasis in a model system, and its presence in cancer cells of patients is strongly associated with their reduced survival times. A well-established Furth Wistar rat metastasis model system, methods for measuring cell migration, and specific inhibitors were used to study pathways of motility-driven metastasis. Cells expressing C-terminal mutant S100P proteins display markedly-reduced S100P-driven metastasis in vivo and cell migration in vitro. These cells fail to display the low focal adhesion numbers observed in cells expressing wild-type S100P, and the mutant S100P proteins exhibit reduced biochemical interaction with non-muscle myosin heavy chain isoform IIA in vitro. Extracellular inhibitors of the S100P-dependent plasminogen activation pathway reduce, but only in part, wild-type S100P-dependent cell migration; they are without effect on S100P-negative cells or cells expressing C-terminal mutant S100P proteins and have no effect on the numbers of focal adhesions. Recombinant wild-type S100P protein, added extracellularly to S100P-negative cells, stimulates cell migration, which is abolished by these inhibitors. The results identify at least two S100P-dependent pathways of migration, one cell surface and the other intracellularly-linked, and identify its C-terminal lysine as a target for inhibiting multiple migration-promoting activities of S100P protein and S100P-driven metastasis.
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