UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Hyaluronan Mediated Motility Receptor (HMMR) Encodes an Evolutionarily Conserved Homeostasis, Mitosis, and Meiosis Regulator Rather than a Hyaluronan Receptor He, Zhengcheng; Mei, Lin; Connell, Marisa; Maxwell, Christopher A.


Hyaluronan is an extracellular matrix component that absorbs water in tissues and engages cell surface receptors, like Cluster of Differentiation 44 (CD44), to promote cellular growth and movement. Consequently, CD44 demarks stem cells in normal tissues and tumor-initiating cells isolated from neoplastic tissues. Hyaluronan mediated motility receptor (HMMR, also known as RHAMM) is another one of few defined hyaluronan receptors. HMMR is also associated with neoplastic processes and its role in cancer progression is often attributed to hyaluronan-mediated signaling. But, HMMR is an intracellular, microtubule-associated, spindle assembly factor that localizes protein complexes to augment the activities of mitotic kinases, like polo-like kinase 1 and Aurora kinase A, and control dynein and kinesin motor activities. Expression of HMMR is elevated in cells prior to and during mitosis and tissues with detectable HMMR expression tend to be highly proliferative, including neoplastic tissues. Moreover, HMMR is a breast cancer susceptibility gene product. Here, we briefly review the associations between HMMR and tumorigenesis as well as the structure and evolution of HMMR, which identifies Hmmr-like gene products in several insect species that do not produce hyaluronan. This review supports the designation of HMMR as a homeostasis, mitosis, and meiosis regulator, and clarifies how its dysfunction may promote the tumorigenic process and cancer progression.

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