Publication Date



Journal of Biological Chemistry


The neuroepithelial cell transforming gene 1 (Net1) is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the small GTPase RhoA that promotes cancer cell motility and metastasis. Two isoforms of Net1 exist, Net1 and Net1A, both of which are sequestered in the nucleus in quiescent cells to prevent aberrant RhoA activation. Many cell motility stimuli drive cytosolic relocalization of Net1A, but mechanisms controlling this event are not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that epithelial growth factor stimulates protein kinase Src- and Abl1-dependent phosphorylation of Net1A to promote its cytosolic localization. We show that Abl1 efficiently phosphorylates Net1A on Y373, and that phenylalanine substitution of Y373 prevents Net1A cytosolic localization. Furthermore, we found that Abl1-driven cytosolic localization of Net1A does not require S52, which is a phosphorylation site of a different kinase, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, that inhibits nuclear import of Net1A. However, we did find that MKK7-stimulated cytosolic localization of Net1A does require Y373. We also demonstrate that aspartate substitution at Y373 is sufficient to promote Net1A cytosolic accumulation, and expression of Net1A Y373D potentiates epithelial growth factor-stimulated RhoA activation, downstream myosin light chain 2 phosphorylation, and F-actin accumulation. Moreover, we show that expression of Net1A Y373D in breast cancer cells also significantly increases cell motility and Matrigel invasion. Finally, we show that Net1A is required for Abl1-stimulated cell motility, which is rescued by expression of Net1A Y373D, but not Net1A Y373F. Taken together, this work demonstrates a novel mechanism controlling Net1A subcellular localization to regulate RhoA-dependent cell motility and invasion.


Net1, Src, Abl1, RhoA, phosphorylation, motility



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