HOXC8-Dependent Cadherin 11 Expression Facilitates Breast Cancer Cell Migration through Trio and Rac

Yong Li, Zijing Guo, Huijun Chen, Zheng Dong, Zhixing K. Pan, Hanfei Ding, Shi Bing Su, Shuang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


HOXC8 expression is upregulated in diverse cancer types, and a high level of HOXC8 is often associated with the aggressive/metastatic phenotypes. We previously reported that the presence of HOXC8 is essential for breast cancer cell migration and metastasis. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of HOXC8 regulation of cell migration is unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the presence of HOXC8 is required for cadherin 11 (CDH11) expression in breast cancer cells and that HOXC8 regulation of cell migration is mediated by CDH11. To understand the role of HOXC8-CDH11 axis in cell migration, we show that depleting either HOXC8 or CDH11 diminishes the formation of actin-based membrane ruffles, an event essential for cell migration. The loss of membrane ruffles in HOXC8- or CDH11-knockdown cells is apparently caused by reduced Rac activity because ectopically expressing active Rac1 restores cytoskeleton reorganization. CDH11 physically interacts with Trio, a Rac GEF. We show that Trio is responsible for the majority of endogenous Rac activity in migratory breast cancer cells. Because knockdown of CDH11 prevents the plasma membrane localization of Trio, our study indicates that CDH11 may play a role in recruiting Trio to the plasma membrane where Trio activates Rac, leading to cell migration. This study reveals a novel HOXC8-CDH11-Trio-Rac signaling axis that contributes significantly to breast cancer cell migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-888
Number of pages9
JournalGenes and Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • CDH11
  • HOXC8
  • Rac
  • Trio
  • cell migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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