The role of c-Crk (CRK) in promoting metastasis is well described however the role of CRK phosphorylation and the corresponding signaling events are not well explained. We have observed CRK-II serine 41 phosphorylation is inversely correlated with p120-catenin and E-cadherin expressions in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. Therefore, we investigated the role of CRK-II serine 41 phosphorylation in the down-regulation of p120-catenin, cell motility and cell invasiveness in NSCLC cells. For this purpose, we expressed phosphomimetic and phosphodeficient CRK-II serine 41 mutants in NSCLC cells. NSCLC cells expressing phosphomimetic CRK-II seine 41 mutant showed lower p120-catenin level while CRK-II seine 41 phosphodeficient mutant expression resulted in higher p120-catenin. In addition, A549 cells expressing CRK-II serine 41 phosphomimetic mutant demonstrated more aggressive behavior in wound healing and invasion assays and, on the contrary, expression of phosphodeficient CRK-II serine 41 mutant in A549 cells resulted in reduced cell motility and invasiveness. We also provide evidence that PAK1 mediates CRK-II serine 41 phosphorylation. RNAi mediated silencing of PAK1 increased p120-catenin level in A549 and H157 cells. Furthermore, PAK1 silencing decreased cell motility and invasiveness in A549 cells. These effects were abrogated in A549 cells expressing phosphomimetic CRK-II serine 41. In summary, these data provide evidence for the role of PAK1 in the promotion of cell motility, cell invasiveness and the down regulation of p120-catenin through CRK serine 41 phosphorylation in NSCLC cells.
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