Objective: Engulfment and cell motility 1 (Elmo1) has been reported to cooperate with dedicator of cytokinesis 1 (Dock180) and to be linked to the invasive phenotype of cancer cells through activating small G-protein Rac. We aimed to study the role of Elmo1 in the malignant migration of ovarian cancer.
Methods: Engulfment and cell motility 1 expression was evaluated in specimens from 93 patients with serous ovarian cancer (SOC) by immunohistochemical staining. Next, Elmo1-RNAi cells were established by validated small interference RNAs. Cell proliferation and cell motility were observed and compared with Dock180-RNAi cells. To confirm their synergetic contribution to forming focal adhesion and activating Rac1, Rac1-GTP level was measured by GST pull-down assay and immunofluorescence was used to observe focal adhesion formation both in Elmo1-RNAi and Dock180-RNAi cells.
Results: Engulfment and cell motility 1 was mainly overexpressed in high-grade SOC tissues. Western blot analysis demonstrated that both Elmo1 and Dock180 expressions were hampered in Elmo1-RNAi cells. Compared with the negative control, decreased colony formation and cell invasion were observed in Elmo1-RNAi cells and Dock180-RNAi cells. Consistently, both exhibited reduced Rac1-GTP level and inhibited focal adhesion formation.
Conclusions: Engulfment and cell motility 1 presents with synergetic action in helping Dock180 to activate Rac1 and promote cell motility, and thus promote untoward expansion and aggressiveness of SOC.