Arl2- and Msps-dependent microtubule growth governs asymmetric division
We have previously reported that ADP ribosylation factor like 2 (Arl2), a small GTPase, content influences microtubule dynamics and cell cycle distribution in breast tumor cells, as well as the degree and distribution of phosphorylated P53. Here we show, in two different human breast adenocarcinoma models, that Arl2 content has a major impact on breast tumor cell aggressivity both in vitro and in vivo. Cells with reduced content of Arl2 displayed reduced contact inhibition, increased clonogenic or cluster formation as well as a proliferative advantage over control cells in an in vitro competition assay. These cells also caused larger tumors in SCID mice, a phenotype which was mimicked by the in vivo administration of siRNA directed against Arl2. Cells with increased Arl2 content displayed reduced aggressivity, both in vitro and in vivo, with enhanced necrosis and were also found to contain increased PP2A phosphatase activity. A rt-PCR analysis of fresh human tumor breast samples suggested that low Arl2 expression was associated with larger tumor size and greater risk of lymph node involvement at diagnosis. These data underline the role of Arl2, a small GTPase, as an important regulator of breast tumor cell aggressivity, both in vitro and in vivo.