RalGPS2 is involved in tunneling nanotubes formation in 5637 bladder cancer cells

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RalGPS2 is a Ras-independent Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor (GEF) for RalA containing a PH domain and an SH3-binding region and it is involved in several cellular processes, such as cytokinesis, control of cell cycle progression, differentiation, cytoskeleton organization and rearrangement. Up to now, few data have been published regarding RalGPS2 role in cancer cells, and its involvement in bladder cancer is yet to be established. In this paper we demonstrated that RalGPS2 is expressed in urothelial carcinoma-derived 5637 cancer cells and is essential for cellular growth. These cells produces thin membrane protrusions that displayed the characteristics of actin rich tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) and here we show that RalGPS2 is involved in the formation of these cellular protrusions. In fact the overexpression of RalGPS2 or of its PH-domain increased markedly the number and the length of nanotubes, while the knock-down of RalGPS2 caused a strong reduction of these structures. Moreover, using a series of RalA mutants impaired in the interaction with different downstream components (Sec5, Exo84, RalBP1) we demonstrated that the interaction of RalA with Sec5 is required for TNTs formation. Furthermore, we found that RalGPS2 interacts with the transmembrane MHC class III protein leukocyte specific transcript 1 (LST1) and RalA, leading to the formation of a complex which promotes TNTs generation. These findings allow us to add novel elements to molecular models that have been previously proposed regarding TNTs formation.

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