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Mena regulates the LINC complex to control actin-nuclear lamina associations, trans-nuclear membrane signalling and cancer gene expression

By Frederic Li Mow Chee, Bruno Beernaert, Alexander E P Loftus, Yatendra Kumar, Billie G C Griffith, Jimi C Wills, Ann P Wheeler, J. Douglas Armstrong, Maddy Parsons, Irene M Leigh, Charlotte M Proby, Alex von Kriegsheim, Wendy A Bickmore, Margaret C Frame, Adam Byron

Posted 31 Aug 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.31.458340

Interactions between cells and the extracellular matrix, mediated by integrin adhesion complexes (IACs), play key roles in cancer progression and metastasis. We investigated systems-level changes in the integrin adhesome during metastatic progression of a patient-derived cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), and found that the actin regulatory protein Mena is enriched in IACs in metastatic cSCC cells. Mena is connected within a subnetwork of actin-binding proteins to the LINC complex component nesprin-2, with which it interacts and co-localises at the nuclear envelope of metastatic cells. Moreover, Mena potentiates the interactions of nesprin-2 with the actin cytoskeleton and the nuclear lamina. CRISPR-mediated Mena depletion causes altered nuclear morphology, reduces tyrosine phosphorylation of the nuclear membrane protein emerin and downregulates expression of the immunomodulatory gene PTX3 via the recruitment of its enhancer to the nuclear periphery. We have uncovered an unexpected novel role for Mena at the nuclear membrane, where it controls the LINC complex, nuclear architecture, chromatin repositioning and cancer gene expression. This is the first description of an adhesion protein regulating gene transcription via direct signalling across the nuclear envelope.

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