NKCC1 Regulates Migration Ability of Glioblastoma Cells by Modulation of Actin Dynamics and Interacting with Cofilin

Paula Schiapparelli, Hugo Guerrero-Cazares, Roxana Magaña-Maldonado, Susan M. Hamilla, Sara Ganaha, Eric Goulin Lippi Fernandes, Chuan Hsiang Huang, Helim Aranda-Espinoza, Peter Devreotes, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive primary brain tumor in adults. The mechanisms that confer GBM cells their invasive behavior are poorly understood. The electroneutral Na+-K+-2Cl co-transporter 1 (NKCC1) is an important cell volume regulator that participates in cell migration. We have shown that inhibition of NKCC1 in GBM cells leads to decreased cell migration, in vitro and in vivo. We now report on the role of NKCC1 on cytoskeletal dynamics. We show that GBM cells display a significant decrease in F-actin content upon NKCC1 knockdown (NKCC1-KD). To determine the potential actin-regulatory mechanisms affected by NKCC1 inhibition, we studied NKCC1 protein interactions. We found that NKCC1 interacts with the actin-regulating protein Cofilin-1 and can regulate its membrane localization. Finally, we analyzed whether NKCC1 could regulate the activity of the small Rho-GTPases RhoA and Rac1. We observed that the active forms of RhoA and Rac1 were decreased in NKCC1-KD cells. In summary, we report that NKCC1 regulates GBM cell migration by modulating the cytoskeleton through multiple targets including F-actin regulation through Cofilin-1 and RhoGTPase activity. Due to its essential role in cell migration NKCC1 may serve as a specific therapeutic target to decrease cell invasion in patients with primary brain cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Cell migration
  • Glioblastoma
  • NKCC1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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