Cell invasion of highly metastatic MTLn3 cancer cells is dependent on phospholipase D2 (PLD2) and janus kinase 3 (JAK3)

Karen M. Henkels, Terry Farkaly, Madhu Mahankali, Jeffrey E. Segall, Julian Gomez-Cambronero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


MTLn3 cells are highly invasive breast adenoacarcinoma cells. The relative level of the epidermal-growth-factor-stimulated invasion of this cell line is greater than two other breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7) and one non-small cell lung cancer cell line (H1299). We have determined that the mechanism of cancer cell invasion involves the presence of an enzymatically active phospholipase D (PLD), with the PLD2 isoform being more relevant than PLD1. PLD2 silencing abrogated invasion, whereas ectopic expression of PLD2 augmented cell invasion in all four cell lines, with an efficacy (MTLn3 ± MDA-MB-231 > H1299 ± MCF-7) that correlated well with their abilities to invade Matrigel in vitro. We also report that PLD2 is under the control of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3), with the kinase phosphorylating PLD2 at the Y415 residue, thus enabling its activation. Y415 is located downstream of a PH domain and upstream of the catalytic HKD-1 domain of PLD2. JAK3 knockdown abrogated lipase activity and epidermal-growth-factor-stimulated cell invasion directly. For the purposes of activating PLD2 for cell invasion, JAK3 operates via an alternative pathway that is independent of STAT, at least in MTLn3 cells. We also consistently found that JAK3 and PLD2 pathways are utilized at the maximum efficiency (phosphorylation and activity) in highly invasive MTLn3 cells versus a relatively low utilization in the less invasive MCF-7 cell line. In summary, a high level of cell invasiveness of cancer cells can be explained for the first time by combined high JAK3/PLD2 phosphorylation and activity involving PLD2's Y415 residue, which might constitute a novel target to inhibit cancer cell invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-862
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 20 2011


  • DMEM
  • Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium
  • EGF
  • FBS
  • FITC
  • JAK3
  • Janus kinase 3
  • PA
  • PLD
  • SEM
  • SLB
  • epidermal growth factor
  • fetal bovine serum
  • fluorescein isothiocyanate
  • phosphatidic acid
  • phospholipase D
  • special lysis buffer
  • standard error of the mean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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