MEKK1 regulates calpain-dependent proteolysis of focal adhesion proteins for rear-end detachment of migrating fibroblasts


Herein, we define how MEKK1, a MAPK kinase kinase, regulates cell migration. MEKK1 is associated with actin fibers and focal adhesions, localizing MEKK1 to sites critical in the control of cell adhesion and migration. EGF-induced ERK1/2 activation and chemotaxis are inhibited in MEKK1-/- fibroblasts. MEKK1 deficiency causes loss of vinculin in focal adhesions of migrating cells, increased cell adhesion and impeded rear-end detachment. MEKK1 is required for activation of the cysteine protease calpain and cleavage of spectrin and talin, proteins linking focal adhesions to the cytoskeleton. Inhibition of ERK1/2 or calpain, but not of JNK, mimics MEKK1 deficiency. Therefore, MEKK1 regulates calpain-mediated substratum release of migrating fibroblasts.

Publication Title

EMBO Journal