CAS/Crk coupling serves as a "molecular switch" for induction of cell migration.
Carcinoma cells selected for their ability to migrate in vitro showed enhanced invasive properties in vivo. Associated with this induction of migration was the anchorage-dependent phosphorylation of p130CAS (Crk-associated substrate), leading to its coupling to the adaptor protein c-CrkII (Crk). In fact, expression of CAS or its adaptor protein partner Crk was sufficient to promote cell migration, and this depended on CAS tyrosine phosphorylation facilitating an SH2-mediated complex with Crk. Cytokine-stimulated cell migration was blocked by CAS lacking the Crk binding site or Crk containing a mutant SH2 domain. This migration response was characterized by CAS/Crk localization to membrane ruffles and blocked by the dominant-negative GTPase, Rac, but not Ras. Thus, CAS/Crk assembly serves as a "molecular switch" for the induction of cell migration and appears to contribute to the invasive property of tumors.