Targeting Fyn in Ras-transformed cells induces F-actin to promote adherens junction-mediated cell-cell adhesion

Sarah E. Fenton, Kelli A. Hutchens, Mitchell F. Denning*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Fyn, a member of the Src family kinases (SFK), is an oncogene in murine epidermis and is associated with cell-cell adhesion turnover and induction of cell migration. Additionally, Fyn upregulation has been reported in multiple tumor types, including cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Introduction of active H-Ras(G12V) into the HaCaT human keratinocyte cell line resulted in upregulation of Fyn mRNA (200-fold) and protein, while expression of other SFKs remained unaltered. Transduction of active Ras or Fyn was sufficient to induce an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in HaCaT cells. Inhibition of Fyn activity, using siRNA or the clinical SFK inhibitor Dasatinib, increased cell-cell adhesion and rapidly (5-60min) increased levels of cortical F-actin. Fyn inhibition with siRNA or Dasatinib also induced F-actin in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, which have elevated Fyn. F-actin co-localized with adherens junction proteins, and Dasatinib-induced cell-cell adhesion could be blocked by Cytochalasin D, indicating that F-actin polymerization was a key initiator of cell-cell adhesion through the adherens junction. Conversely, inhibiting cell-cell adhesion with low Ca2+ media did not block Dasatinib-induced F-actin polymerization. Inhibition of the Rho effector kinase ROCK blocked Dasatinib-induced F-actin and cell-cell adhesion, implicating relief of Rho GTPase inhibition as a mechanism of Dasatinib-induced cell-cell adhesion. Finally, topical Dasatinib treatment significantly reduced total tumor burden in the SKH1 mouse model of UV-induced skin carcinogenesis. Together these results identify the promotion of actin-based cell-cell adhesion as a newly described mechanism of action for Dasatinib and suggest that Fyn inhibition may be an effective therapeutic approach in treating cSCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1193
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
  • Dasatinib
  • Keratinocytes
  • Skin carcinogenesis
  • Twist
  • UV radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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