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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2012, Article ID 590531, 11 pages
Review Article

WAVE2 Protein Complex Coupled to Membrane and Microtubules

Molecular Cell Biology Division, Kanagawa Cancer Center Research Institute, Yokohama 241-0815, Japan

Received 18 May 2011; Revised 12 October 2011; Accepted 17 October 2011

Academic Editor: Dominic Fan

Copyright © 2012 Kazuhide Takahashi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


E-cadherin is one of the key molecules in the formation of cell-cell adhesion and interacts intracellularly with a group of proteins collectively named catenins, through which the E-cadherin-catenin complex is anchored to actin-based cytoskeletal components. Although cell-cell adhesion is often disrupted in cancer cells by either genetic or epigenetic alterations in cell adhesion molecules, disruption of cell-cell adhesion alone seems to be insufficient for the induction of cancer cell migration and invasion. A small GTP-binding protein, Rac1, induces the specific cellular protrusions lamellipodia via WAVE2, a member of WASP/WAVE family of the actin cytoskeletal regulatory proteins. Biochemical and pharmacological investigations have revealed that WAVE2 interacts with many proteins that regulate microtubule growth, actin assembly, and membrane targeting of proteins, all of which are necessary for directional cell migration through lamellipodia formation. These findings might have important implications for the development of effective therapeutic agents against cancer cell migration and invasion.