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Title: Role of human Desmoglein 3 in the regulation of cell morphology and motility via AP-1 and PKC dependent Ezrin activation
Author: Brown, Louise E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7651 8076
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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Desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) belongs to the desmoglein subfamily and functions as an adhesion molecule in desmosomes. Two pools of Dsg3 have been identified, detergent soluble and insoluble proteins. Recent studies show that DSG3 is upregulated in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). However, its biological function in cancer remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the extra-junctional functions of Dsg3, in particular its roles in signalling that regulates cell morphology and locomotion in cancer cells. This study adopted a unique cancer cell model with Dsg3 gain-of-function and has discovered two novel regulatory signal pathways that may play a crucial role in the control of cell invasion and metastasis in Dsg3 associated cancers. Firstly, Dsg3 regulates the phosphorylation of Ezrin at Thr567 in a PKCdependent manner that is crucial for its activation and regulation of actin based membrane projections and accelerated cell locomotion in SCC. Secondly, Dsg3 modulates the transcriptional activity of cJun:AP1 that is responsible for regulating a cohort of genes to confer an invasive phenotype. It is likely that these two pathways are closely linked in that the Dsg3-mediated activation of cJun:AP1 elicits PKCdependent Ezrin activation that in turn enable it to form a complex with Dsg3 at the plasma membrane to promote membrane projection and cell locomotion. Several lines of evidence support these conclusions: Dsg3 forms a complex with Ezrin at the plasma membrane and induces phosphorylation of Ezrin resulting in augmented membrane protrusions and cell migration. Dsg3 silencing inhibits junction formation concomitant with collapse of membrane protrusion. Furthermore, Dsg3 regulates the activity of cJun:AP1. Collectively, these findings provide new insight regarding Dsg3 in cancer, suggesting it acts as a key regulator of cell invasion and metastasis in SCC. Therefore, targeting Dsg3 could be a potential new strategy in the control of cancer progression and metastasis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: British Skin Foundation ; Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Human Desmoglein 3 ; cell morphology ; Dsg3 in cancer ; squamous cell carcinoma