PKN, a conserved family member related to PKC, was the first protein kinase identified as a target of the small GTPase Rho. PKN is involved in various functions including cytoskeletal arrangement and cell adhesion. Furthermore, the enrichment of PKN3 mRNA in some cancer cell lines as well as its requirement in malignant prostate cell growth suggested its involvement in oncogenesis. Despite intensive research efforts, physiological as well as pathological roles of PKN3 in vivo remain elusive. Here, we generated mice with a targeted deletion of PKN3. The PKN3 knockout (KO) mice are viable and develop normally. However, the absence of PKN3 had an impact on angiogenesis as evidenced by marked suppressions of micro-vessel sprouting in ex vivo aortic ring assay and in vivo corneal pocket assay. Furthermore, the PKN3 KO mice exhibited an impaired lung metastasis of melanoma cells when administered from the tail vein. Importantly, PKN3 knock-down by small interfering RNA (siRNA) induced a glycosylation defect of cell-surface glycoproteins, including ICAM-1, integrin β1 and integrin α5 in HUVECs. Our data provide the first in vivo genetic demonstration that PKN3 plays critical roles in angiogenesis and tumor metastasis, and that defective maturation of cell surface glycoproteins might underlie these phenotypes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas