The SmgGDS splice variant SmgGDS-558 is a key promoter of tumor growth and rhoa signaling in breast cancer

Andrew D. Hauser, Carmen Bergom, Nathan J. Schuld, Xiuxu Chen, Ellen L. Lorimer, Jian Huang, Alexander C. Mackinnon, Carol L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Breast cancer malignancy is promoted by the small GTPases RhoA and RhoC. SmgGDS is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that activates RhoA and RhoC in vitro.Wepreviously reported that two splice variants of SmgGDS, SmgGDS-607, and SmgGDS-558, have different characteristics in binding and transport of small GTPases. To define the role of SmgGDS in breast cancer, we tested the expression of SmgGDS in breast tumors, and the role of each splice variant in proliferation, tumor growth, Rho activation, and NF-kB transcriptional activity in breast cancer cells. We show upregulated SmgGDS protein expression in breast cancer samples compared with normal breast tissue. In addition, Kaplan-Meier survival curves indicated that patients with high SmgGDS expression in their tumors had worse clinical outcomes. Knockdown of SmgGDS-558, but not SmgGDS-607, in breast cancer cells decreased proliferation, in vivo tumor growth, and RhoA activity. Furthermore, we found that SmgGDS promoted a Rho-dependent activation of the transcription factor NF-kB, which provides a potential mechanism to define how SmgGDS-mediated activation of RhoA promotes breast cancer. This study demonstrates that elevated SmgGDS expression in breast tumors correlates with poor survival, and that SmgGDS-558 plays a functional role in breast cancer malignancy. Taken together, these findings define SmgGDS-558 as a unique promoter of RhoA and NF-kB activity and a novel therapeutic target in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-142
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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