Direct interaction of metastasis-inducing S100P protein with tubulin causes enhanced cell migration without changes in cell adhesion

Min Du*, Guozheng Wang, Igor Barsukov, Stephane Gross, Richard Smith, Philip S. Rudland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Overexpression of S100P promotes breast cancer metastasis in animals and elevated levels in primary breast cancers are associated with poor patient outcomes. S100P can differentially interact with nonmuscle myosin (NM) isoforms (IIA > IIC > IIB) leading to the redistribution of actomyosin filaments to enhance cell migration. Using COS-7 cells which do not naturally express NMIIA, S100P is now shown to interact directly with α,β-tubulin in vitro and in vivo with an equilibrium Kd of 2-3 × 10-7 M. The overexpressed S100P is located mainly in nuclei and microtubule organising centres (MTOC) and it significantly reduces their number, slows down tubulin polymerisation and enhances cell migration in S100P-induced COS-7 or HeLa cells. It fails, however, to significantly reduce cell adhesion, in contrast with NMIIA-containing S100P-inducible HeLa cells. When taxol is used to stabilise MTs or colchicine to dissociate MTs, S100P's stimulation of migration is abolished. Affinity-chromatography of tryptic digests of α and β-tubulin on S100P-bound beads identifies multiple S100P-binding sites consistent with S100P binding to all four half molecules in gel-overlay assays. When screened by NMR and ITC for interacting with S100P, four chemically synthesised peptides show interactions with low micromolar dissociation constants. The two highest affinity peptides significantly inhibit binding of S100P to α,β-tubulin and, when tagged for cellular entry, also inhibit S100P-induced reduction in tubulin polymerisation and S100P-enhancement of COS-7 or HeLa cell migration. A third peptide incapable of interacting with S100P also fails in this respect. Thus S100P can interact directly with two different cytoskeletal filaments to independently enhance cell migration, the most important step in the metastatic cascade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1178
Number of pages20
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number6
Early online date19 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2020 The Author(s)
This is an Accepted Manuscript; not the final Version of Record. You are encouraged to use the final Version of Record that, when published, will replace this manuscript and be freely available under a Creative Commons licence.


  • S100P
  • cell migration
  • metastasis
  • microtubule
  • peptides
  • tubulin


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