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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Nuclear trafficking of secreted factors and cell-surface receptors: new pathways to regulate cell proliferation and differentiation, and involvement in cancers

Nathalie Planque

Author Affiliations

Laboratoire d'Oncologie Virale et Moléculaire, Université Paris7-Denis Diderot, UFR de Biochimie, 2 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France

Cell Communication and Signaling 2006, 4:7  doi:10.1186/1478-811X-4-7

Published: 18 October 2006

Abstract

Secreted factors and cell surface receptors can be internalized by endocytosis and translocated to the cytoplasm. Instead of being recycled or proteolysed, they sometimes translocate to the nucleus. Nuclear import generally involves a nuclear localization signal contained either in the secreted factor or its transmembrane receptor, that is recognized by the importins machinery. In the nucleus, these molecules regulate transcription of specific target genes by direct binding to transcription factors or general coregulators. In addition to the transcription regulation, nuclear secreted proteins and receptors seem to be involved in other important processes for cell life and cellular integrity such as DNA replication, DNA repair and RNA metabolism.

Nuclear secreted proteins and transmembrane receptors now appear to induce new signaling pathways to regulate cell proliferation and differentiation. Their nuclear localization is often transient, appearing only during certain phases of the cell cycle. Nuclear secreted and transmembrane molecules regulate the proliferation and differentiation of a large panel of cell types during embryogenesis and adulthood and are also potentially involved in wound healing. Secreted factors such as CCN proteins, EGF, FGFs and their receptors are often detected in the nucleus of cancer cells. Nuclear localization of these molecules has been correlated with tumor progression and poor prognosis for patient survival. Nuclear growth factors and receptors may be responsible for resistance to radiotherapy.