Serine-Threonine Kinase TAO3-Mediated Trafficking of Endosomes Containing the Invadopodia Scaffold TKS5a Promotes Cancer Invasion and Tumor Growth

Shinji Iizuka, Manuela Quintavalle, Jose C. Navarro, Kyle P. Gribbin, Robert J. Ardecky, Matthew M. Abelman, Chen Ting Ma, Eduard Sergienko, Fu Yue Zeng, Ian Pass, George V. Thomas, Shannon K. McWeeney, Christian A. Hassig, Anthony B. Pinkerton, Sara A. Courtneidge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Invadopodia are actin-based proteolytic membrane protrusions required for invasive behavior and tumor growth. In this study, we used our high-content screening assay to identify kinases whose activity affects invadopodia formation. Among the top hits selected for further analysis was TAO3, an STE20-like kinase of the GCK subfamily. TAO3 was overexpressed in many human cancers and regulated invadopodia formation in melanoma, breast, and bladder cancers. Furthermore, TAO3 catalytic activity facilitated melanoma growth in three-dimensional matrices and in vivo. A novel, potent catalytic inhibitor of TAO3 was developed that inhibited invadopodia formation and function as well as tumor cell extravasation and growth. Treatment with this inhibitor demonstrated that TAO3 activity is required for endosomal trafficking of TKS5a, an obligate invadopodia scaffold protein. A phosphoproteomics screen for TAO3 substrates revealed the dynein subunit protein LIC2 as a relevant substrate. Knockdown of LIC2 or expression of a phosphomimetic form promoted invadopodia formation. Thus, TAO3 is a new therapeutic target with a distinct mechanism of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1472-1485
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Research
Volume81
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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