P21-activated kinase 4 (PAK4), a member of serine/threonine kinases family is over-expressed in numerous cancer tumors and is associated with oncogenic cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Our recent work demonstrated that the SET-domain containing protein 6 (SETD6) interacts with and methylates PAK4 at chromatin in mammalian cells, leading to activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. In our current work, we identified lysine 473 (K473) on PAK4 as the primary methylation site by SETD6. Methylation of PAK4 at K473 activates β-catenin transcriptional activity and inhibits cell adhesion. Specific methylation of PAK4 at K473 also attenuates paxillin localization to focal adhesions leading to overall reduction in adhesion-related features, such as filopodia and actin structures. The altered adhesion of the PAK4 wild-type cells is accompanied with a decrease in the migrative and invasive characteristics of the cells. Taken together, our results suggest that methylation of PAK4 at K473 plays a vital role in the regulation of cell adhesion and migration.
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