Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Cancer Biology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Seth J. Corey, MD

Committee Member

Jeff Frost, PhD

Committee Member

Janet Price, DPhil

Committee Member

Joe McCarty, PhD

Committee Member

Fernando Cabral, PhD


Cellular invasion represents a critical early step in the metastatic cascade, and many proteins have been identified as part of an “invasive signature.” The non-receptor tyrosine kinase Src is commonly upregulated in breast cancers, often in conjunction with overexpression of EGFR. Signaling from this pathway stimulates cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and frequently involves proteins that regulate the cytoskeleton. My data demonstrates that inhibition of Src, using the small-molecule inhibitor dasatinib, impairs cellular migration and invasion. Furthermore, Src inhibition sensitizes the cells to the effects of the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin resulting in dramatic, synergistic inhibition of proliferation with combination treatments. The Src-targeted protein CIP4 (Cdc42-interacting protein 4) associates with curved plasma membranes to scaffold complexes of Cdc42 and N-WASp. In these experiments, I show that CIP4 overexpression correlates with triple-negative biomarker status, cellular migration, and invasion of (breast cancer cells. Inhibition of CIP4 expression significantly decreases migration and invasion. Furthermore, I demonstrate the novel finding that CIP4 localizes to invadopodia, which are finger-like projections of the actin cytoskeleton that are associated with matrix degradation and cellular invasion. Depletion of CIP4 in invasive cells impairs the formation of invadopodia and the degradation of gelatin. Therefore, CIP4 is a critical component of the invasive phenotype acquired by human breast cancer cells. In this body of work, I propose a model in which CIP4 promotes actin polymerization by stabilizing the active conformation of N-WASp. CIP4 and N-WASp are both phosphorylated by Src, implicating this pathway in Src-dependent cytoskeletal rearragement. This represents a novel role for F-BAR proteins in migration and invasion.


CIP4, Src, invasion, invadopodia, migration, N-WASp, F-BAR, Cdc42



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