Cellular invasion requires careful regulation of the cell migration and apoptotic signaling cascades, allowing cell movement and survival of the emigrating populations. Components of the endosomal machinery are involved in these processes, and in particular the role of small GTPases of the Rab family has become appreciated. Rab5 is best known for its role in regulating the trafficking of early endosomes, however, it has recently been appreciated to associate with and regulate the routing of complexes containing integrins, the primary cellular receptors for the extracellular matrix. The association regulates the spatio-temporal activation of signals of downstream growth factors and integrins. Rab proteins have also been linked to apoptosis mediated by cell surface death receptors, which elicit the activation of the death cascade via activation of caspase-8. Recently, the link between trafficking, apoptosis and cell migration was strengthened, as Rab5 was determined to work in conjunction with caspase-8 in promoting tumor cell motility and metastasis by regulating β1 integrin traffic. The capacity to connect and regulate these pathways identifies Rab5 as a key player in future studies of cell migration and tumor dissemination.
Keywords: migration, metastasis, integrin, GTPase, endosome, Caspase-8, p85
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