Affiliations: [a] Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research, Department of Radiopharmaceutical and Chemical Biology, Dresden, Germany
| [b] Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Chemistry and Food Chemistry, Dresden, Germany
Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Jens Pietzsch, Department of Radiopharmaceutical and Chemical Biology, Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Bautzner Landstraße 400, 01328 Dresden, Germany. Tel.: +49 351 260 2622; Fax: +49 351 260 4922; E-mail: [email protected].
Note: [†] Jens Pietzsch and Birgit Belter shared senior authorship.
Abstract: EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase fulfils various functions in the development of cancers. Here we analyzed how regulation of EphA2 receptor influences metastatic properties in human melanoma cells in vitro and lung metastasis in vivo. Further, we investigated whether the effects are mediated by Src kinase/focal adhesion kinase (FAK) signaling downstream of EphA2. Therefore, as model Mel-Juso and A375 melanoma cell lines showing different intrinsic EphA2 expression levels were used. To regulate EphA2 expression and activity, we used RNA interference, transgenic EphA2 overexpression, and stimulation of EphA2 activity by adding EphrinA1. Adhesion to fibronectin was increased in EphA2-silenced cells and decreased in EphA2-overexpressing cells. Migration and planar motility were unaffected in Mel-Juso cells, but increased in EphA2-silenced A375 cells and decreased in EphA2-overexpressing A375 cells. Adhesion and migration were unaffected by EphrinA1-stimulation, indicating ligand-independent mechanisms. In vivo we detected increased lung metastasis in mice inoculated with EphA2-overexpressing Mel-Juso cells, substantiating the pro-metastatic effects of EphA2 in melanoma. Activity of Src kinase and FAK were unaffected in EphA2-silenced cells and in response to EphrinA1-stimulation. However, in EphA2-overexpressing A375 cells Src phosphorylation was increased, indicating enhanced Src activity. Together, these data suggest that EphA2 receptor promotes malignancy ligand-independently by mechanisms different from Src kinase/FAK signaling.