Introduction: Invasion and metastasis of pancreatic cancer (PC) require cell motility and adhesion, which depend on the activity of cytoskeleton. A cytoskeletal component indispensable for these processes is myosin II, the cytoplasmic analogue of smooth and skeletal muscle myosin. Aims and methodology: Because the activity of myosin II is accelerated by phosphorylation of myosin II on its regulatory light chain (RLC) by myosin light chain kinase (MLCK), we used two specific MLCK inhibitors, ML-7 and ML-9, for suppression of motility and adhesion of PC cell lines. Results: Both drugs were potent inhibitors, as measured by in vitro motility assay and adhesion assay. When treated with the same concentration of ML-7, the PC cells were rounded up, and the number of stress fibers was reduced markedly. The in vitro migration and adhesion of PC cells were inhibited by ML-7 and ML-9 in a dose-dependent manner, supporting a specific and competitive inhibition of MLCK by these drugs. The inhibition occurred at nontoxic concentrations. Conclusions: These results highlight the importance of myosin II in the invasion and metastasis of PC cells and suggest the possibility that blocking of myosin II activity by a specific MLCK inhibitor may be a therapeutic strategy for preventing the invasion and metastasis of PC.
- MLCK inhibitor
- Pancreatic cancer