Myosin motors: Novel regulators and therapeutic targets in colorectal cancer

Nayden G. Naydenov, Susana Lechuga, Emina H. Huang, Andrei I. Ivanov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the third most common cause of cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Clinicians are largely faced with advanced and metastatic disease for which few interventions are available. One poorly understood aspect of CRC involves altered organization of the actin cytoskeleton, especially at the metastatic stage of the disease. Myosin motors are crucial regulators of actin cytoskeletal architecture and remodeling. They act as mechanosensors of the tumor environments and control key cellular processes linked to oncogenesis, including cell division, extracellular matrix adhesion and tissue invasion. Different myosins play either oncogenic or tumor suppressor roles in breast, lung and prostate cancer; however, little is known about their functions in CRC. This review focuses on the functional roles of myosins in colon cancer development. We discuss the most studied class of myosins, class II (conventional) myosins, as well as several classes (I, V, VI, X and XVIII) of unconventional myosins that have been linked to CRC development. Altered expression and mutations of these motors in clinical tumor samples and their roles in CRC growth and metastasis are described. We also evaluate the potential of using small molecular modulators of myosin activity to develop novel anticancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number741
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Invasion
  • Matrix adhesion
  • Metastasis
  • Migration
  • Motor proteins
  • Tumor growth
  • Vesicle trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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