Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Chunying Li


The signaling mediated by the chemokine receptor CXC chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) plays an important role in promoting the progression of many cancers, including pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal human malignancies. CXCR2 possesses a consensus PSD-95/DlgA/ZO-1 (PDZ) motif at its carboxyl termini, which might interact with potential PDZ scaffold/adaptor proteins. We have previously reported that CXCR2 PDZ motif-mediated protein interaction is an important regulator for neutrophil functions. Here, using a series of biochemical assays, we demonstrate that CXCR2 is physically coupled to its downstream effector phospholipase C-β3 (PLC-β3) that is mediated by PDZ scaffold protein Na(+)/H(+) exchange regulatory factor 1 (NHERF1) into a macromolecular signaling complex both in vitro and in pancreatic cancer cells. We also observe that disrupting the CXCR2 complex, by gene delivery or peptide delivery of exogenous CXCR2 C-tail, significantly inhibits the biologic functions of pancreatic cancer cells (i.e., proliferation and invasion) in a PDZ motif-dependent manner. In addition, using a human pancreatic tumor xenograft model, we show that gene delivery of CXCR2 C-tail sequence (containing the PDZ motif) by adeno-associated virus type 2 viral vector potently suppresses human pancreatic tumor growth in immunodeficient mice. In summary, our results suggest the existence of a physical and functional coupling of CXCR2 and PLC-β3 mediated through NHERF1, forming a macromolecular complex that is critical for efficient and specific CXCR2 signaling in pancreatic cancer progression. Disrupting this CXCR2 complex could represent a novel and effective treatment strategy against pancreatic cancer.

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Cell Biology Commons