Cellular and molecular consequences of S100A4-induced motility in rat breast tumour Rama 37 cells

  • Connie Sin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Since the first discovery of S100 members in 1965, their expressions have been affiliated with numerous biological functions in all cells of the body. However, in the recent years, S100A4, a member of this superfamily has emerged as the central target in generating new avenue for cancer therapy as its overexpression has been correlated with cancer patients’ mortality as well as established roles as motility and metastasis promoter. As it has no catalytic activity, S100A4 has to interact with its target proteins to regulate such effects. Up to date, more than 10 S100A4 target proteins have been identified but the mechanical process regulated by S100A4 to induce motility remains vague. In this work, we demonstrated that S100A4 overexpression resulted in actin filaments disorganisation, reduction in focal adhesions, instability of filopodia as well as exhibiting polarised morphology. However, such effects were not observed in truncated versions of S100A4 possibly highlighting the importance of C terminus of S100A4 target recognition. In order to assess some of the intracellular mechanisms that may be involved in promoting migrations, different strategies were used, including active pharmaceutical agents, inhibitors and knockdown experiments. Treatment of S100A4 overexpressing cells with blebbistatin and Y-27632, non muscle myosin IIA (NMMIIA) inhibitors, as well as knockdown of NMMIIA, resulted in motility enhancement and focal adhesions reduction proposing that NMMIIA assisted S100A4 in regulating cell motility but its presence is not essential. Further work done using Cos 7 cell lines, naturally lacking NMMIIA, further demonstrated that S100A4 is capable of regulating cell motility independent of NMMIIA, possibly through poor maturation of focal adhesion. Given that all these experiments highlighted the independency of NMMIIA towards migration, a protein that has been put at the forefront of S100A4-induced motility, we aimed to gather further understanding regarding the other molecular mechanisms that may be at play for motility. Using high throughput imaging (HCI), 3 compounds were identified to be capable of inhibiting S100A4-mediated migration. Although we have yet to investigate the underlying mechanism for their effects, these compounds have been shown to target membrane proteins and the externalisation of S100 proteins, for at least one of the compounds, leading us to speculate that preventing externalisation of S100A4 could potentially regulate cell motility.
Date of Award22 Nov 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aston University
SupervisorStephane Gross (Supervisor) & Martin Griffin (Supervisor)


  • cancer
  • filopodia
  • focal adhesion
  • migration
  • non muscle myosin IIA

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