Myosin II co-chaperone general cell UNC-45 overexpression is associated with ovarian cancer, rapid proliferation, and motility

Martina Bazzaro, Antonio Santillan, Zhenhua Lin, Taylor Tang, Michael K. Lee, Robert E. Bristow, Ie Ming Shih, Richard B.S. Roden

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32 Scopus citations


Both tumor cell proliferation and metastasis are dependent on myosin II. Because UNC-45 is required to chaperone the assembly of a functional myosin II motor, we examined the expression of the general cell (GC) UNC-45 isoform in ovarian tumors. Serous carcinoma expressed elevated levels of GC UNC-45 compared with normal ovarian surface epithelium and benign cystadenoma. High-stage exhibited greater GC UNC-45 expression than low-stage serous carcinoma. Similarly, GC UNC-45 transcripts and protein levels were higher in ovarian cell lines than in immortalized ovarian surface epithelial cells. Elevation of GC UNC-45 levels by ectopic expression enhanced the rate of ovarian cancer cell proliferation, whereas siRNA knockdown of GC UNC-45 suppressed proliferation without altering myosin II levels. GC UNC-45 and myosin II were diffuse within the cytoplasm of confluent interphase cells, but both accumulated together at the cleavage furrow during cytokinesis. GC UNC-45 and myosin II also trafficked to the leading edges of ovarian cancer cells induced to move in a scratch assay. Knockdown of GC UNC-45 reduced the spreading ability of ovarian cancer cells whereas it was enhanced by GC UNC-45 overexpression. In sum, these findings implicate elevated GC UNC-45 protein expression in ovarian carcinoma proliferation and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1640-1649
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the United States Department of Defense (grant OC010017 ), The Johns Hopkins Fund for Medical Discovery (to R.B., I.-M.S., and R.B.S.R), the Public Health Service (grant RO1 CA122581 to R.B.S.R ), and the HERA Foundation (to M.B. and A.S.).


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