Receptor-mediated folate uptake is positively regulated by disruption of the actin cytoskeleton

Cheryl M. Lewis, Angela K. Smith, Barton A. Kamen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Receptor-mediated folate uptake is initiated by binding of ligand to a glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-anchored protein, folate receptor α (FRα). This receptor is expressed in a limited number of normal tissues but is overexpressed in a large number of epithelial malignancies. FRα synthesis, at least in part, is regulated by endogenous folate and by hormones in some cells, but much less is known about the control of function. Recently, we showed that phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate increases the rate of receptor cycling, increases the rate of folate delivery, and causes the majority of the receptor to reside on the cell surface in nonmalignant cells in vitro (C. M. Lewis et al., Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 1401: 157-169, 1998). However, based upon effects (or lack of effects) of specific inhibitors of protein kinase C, the mechanism of action of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate is not likely via protein kinase C. Because exo- and endocytosis are controlled by the actin cytoskeleton, we tested cytochalasin D and latrunculin B, actin-disrupting agents, on FRα-mediated folate uptake. Disruption of the actin cytoskeleton reversibly increases the proportion of receptors on the cell surface and increases the rate of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate delivery. Disrupting microtubules with nocodazole had no effect. The increased rate of folate delivery caused by cytochalasin D is not observed in FR-negative cell lines. Although we have not yet identified the upstream effectors, likely candidates include small G-proteins such as rho, which are known to cause actin polymerization. In addition to identifying the machinery for receptor- mediated folate uptake, it may be important to integrate this new data into studies of FRα as a tumor antigen for imaging or delivering molecules via anti-FR antibodies or compounds coupled to folic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2952-2956
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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