Interplay between neural-cadherin and vascular endothelial-cadherin in breast cancer progression.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Deregulation of cadherin expression, in particular the loss of epithelial (E)-cadherin and gain of neural (N)-cadherin, has been implicated in carcinoma progression. We previously showed that endothelial cell-specific vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin can be expressed aberrantly on tumor cells both in human breast cancer and in experimental mouse mammary carcinoma. Functional analyses revealed that VE-cadherin promotes tumor cell proliferation and invasion by stimulating transforming growth factor (TGF)-? signaling. Here, we investigate the functional interplay between N-cadherin and VE-cadherin in breast cancer. METHODS: The expression of N-cadherin and VE-cadherin was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in a tissue microarray with 84 invasive human breast carcinomas. VE-cadherin and N-cadherin expression in mouse mammary carcinoma cells was manipulated by RNA interference or overexpression, and cells were then analyzed by immunofluorescence, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and western blot. Experimental tumors were generated by transplantation of the modified mouse mammary carcinoma cells into immunocompetent mice. Tumor growth was monitored, and tumor tissue was subjected to histological analysis. RESULTS: VE-cadherin and N-cadherin were largely co-expressed in invasive human breast cancers. Silencing of N-cadherin in mouse mammary carcinoma cells led to decreased VE-cadherin expression and induced changes indicative of mesenchymal-epithelial transition, as indicated by re-induction of E-cadherin, localization of ?-catenin at the cell membrane, decreased expression of vimentin and SIP1, and gain of epithelial morphology. Suppression of N-cadherin expression also inhibited tumor growth in vivo, even when VE-cadherin expression was forced. CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the critical role of N-cadherin in breast cancer progression and show that N-cadherin is involved in maintaining the malignant tumor cell phenotype. The presence of N-cadherin prevents the re-expression of E-cadherin and localization of ?-catenin at the plasma membrane of mesenchymal mammary carcinoma cells. N-cadherin is also required to maintain the expression of VE-cadherin in malignant tumor cells but not vice versa. Thus, N-cadherin acts in concert with VE-cadherin to promote tumor growth.
Project description:N-cadherin is a cell-cell adhesion molecule that plays a role in breast cancer metastasis. Here, we show that in vivo expression of N-cadherin in the PyMT mouse model, which enhances mammary tumor metastasis, results in selective inhibition of Akt3 expression and phosphorylation. Similarly, exogenous expression of N-cadherin in PyMT or MCF-7 mammary tumor cells enhanced cell motility and caused a dramatic reduction in Akt3 expression and phosphorylation. Moreover, knockdown of Akt3 in PyMT tumor cells increased cell motility and disrupted mammary morphogenesis, but had no effect on cell proliferation. Conversely, overexpression of wild-type Akt3 in PyMT-N-cadherin cells inhibited cell motility promoted by N-cadherin. Taken altogether, these findings demonstrate that N-cadherin suppresses Akt3 to promote cell motility and highlight the intricate regulation of Akt isoforms by N-cadherin during metastasis.
Project description:Cadherins mediate cohesive contacts between isotypic cells by homophilic interaction and prevent contact between heterotypic cells. Breast cancer cells neighboring endothelial cells (ECs) atypically express vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin. To understand this EC-induced VE-cadherin expression in breast cancer cells, MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells expressing different endogenous cadherins were co-cultured with ECs and analyzed for VE-cadherin at the transcriptional level and by confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, and immunoblotting. After losing their endogenous cadherins and neo-expression of VE-cadherin, these cells integrated into an EC monolayer without compromising the barrier function instantly. However, they induced the death of nearby ECs. EC-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) contained soluble and membrane-anchored forms of VE-cadherin. Only the latter was re-utilized by the cancer cells. In a reporter gene assay, EC-adjacent cancer cells also showed a juxtacrine but no paracrine activation of the endogenous VE-cadherin gene. This cadherin switch enabled intimate contact between cancer and endothelial cells in a chicken chorioallantoic membrane tumor model showing vasculogenic mimicry (VM). This EV-mediated, EC-induced cadherin switch in breast cancer cells and the neo-expression of VE-cadherin mechanistically explain the mutual communication in the tumor microenvironment. Hence, it may be a target to tackle VM, which is often found in breast cancers of poor prognosis.
Project description:T-cadherin delineates endothelial, myoepithelial, and ductal epithelial cells in the normal mouse mammary gland, and becomes progressively restricted to the vasculature during mammary tumorigenesis. To test the function of T-cadherin in breast cancer, we inactivated the T-cadherin (Cdh13) gene in mice and evaluated tumor development and pathology after crossing the mutation into the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-polyoma virus middle T (PyV-mT) transgenic model. We report that T-cadherin deficiency limits mammary tumor vascularization and reduces tumor growth. Tumor transplantation experiments confirm the stromal role of T-cadherin in tumorigenesis. In comparison with wild-type MMTV-PyV-mT controls, T-cadherin-deficient tumors are pathologically advanced and metastasize to the lungs. T-cadherin is a suggested binding partner for high molecular weight forms of the circulating, fat-secreted hormone adiponectin. We discern adiponectin in association with the T-cadherin-positive vasculature in the normal and malignant mammary glands and report that this interaction is lost in the T-cadherin null condition. This work establishes a role for T-cadherin in promoting tumor angiogenesis and raises the possibility that vascular T-cadherin-adiponectin association may contribute to the molecular cross-talk between tumor cells and the stromal compartment in breast cancer.
Project description:Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women of the Western world. Even though a large percentage of breast cancer patients show pathological complete remission after standard treatment regimes, approximately 30-40% are non-responsive and ultimately develop metastatic disease. To generate a good preclinical model of invasive breast cancer, we have taken a tissue-specific approach to somatically inactivate p53 and E-cadherin, the cardinal cell-cell adhesion receptor that is strongly associated with tumor invasiveness. In breast cancer, E-cadherin is found mutated or otherwise functionally silenced in invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), which accounts for 10-15% of all breast cancers. We show that mammary-specific stochastic inactivation of conditional E-cadherin and p53 results in impaired mammary gland function during pregnancy through the induction of anoikis resistance of mammary epithelium, resulting in loss of epithelial organization and a dysfunctional mammary gland. Moreover, combined inactivation of E-cadherin and p53 induced lactation-independent development of invasive and metastatic mammary carcinomas, which showed strong resemblance to human pleomorphic ILC. Dissemination patterns of mouse ILC mimic the human malignancy, showing metastasis to the gastrointestinal tract, peritoneum, lung, lymph nodes and bone. Our results confirm that loss of E-cadherin contributes to both mammary tumor initiation and metastasis, and establish a preclinical mouse model of human ILC that can be used for the development of novel intervention strategies to treat invasive breast cancer.
Project description:Many aspects of development, tumor growth and metastasis depend upon the provision of an adequate vasculature. This can be a result of regulated angiogenesis, recruitment of circulating endothelial progenitors and/or vascular trans-differentiation. The present study demonstrates that treatment of SKBR-3 breast cancer cells with retinoic acid (RA), an important regulator of embryogenesis, cancer and other diseases, stimulates the formation of networks in Matrigel. RA-treatment of SKBR-3 cells co-cultured with human umbilical vein endothelial cells resulted in the formation of mixed structures. RA induces expression of many endothelial genes including vascular endothelial (VE) cadherin. VE-cadherin was also induced by RA in a number of other breast cancer cells. We show that RA-induced VE-cadherin is responsible for the RA-induced morphological changes. RA rapidly induced the expression of Sox-9 and ER81, which in turn form a complex on the VE-cadherin promoter and are required to mediate the transcriptional regulation of VE-cadherin by RA. These data indicate that RA may promote the expression of endothelial genes resulting in endothelial-like differentiation, or provide a mechanism whereby circulating endothelial progenitor cells could be incorporated into a growing organ or tumor.
Project description:N-cadherin and HER2/neu were found to be co-expressed in invasive breast carcinomas. To test the contribution of N-cadherin and HER2 in mammary tumor metastasis, we targeted N-cadherin expression in the mammary epithelium of the MMTV-Neu mouse. In the context of ErbB2/Neu, N-cadherin stimulated carcinoma cell invasion, proliferation and metastasis. N-cadherin caused fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) upmodulation, resulting in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stem/progenitor like properties, involving Snail and Slug upregulation, mammosphere formation and aldehyde dehydrogenase activity. N-cadherin potentiation of the FGFR stimulated extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) and protein kinase B (AKT) phosphorylation resulting in differential effects on metastasis. Although ERK inhibition suppressed cyclin D1 expression, cell proliferation and stem/progenitor cell properties, it did not affect invasion or EMT. Conversely, AKT inhibition suppressed invasion through Akt 2 attenuation, and EMT through Snail inhibition, but had no effect on cyclin D1 expression, cell proliferation or mammosphere formation. These findings suggest N-cadherin/FGFR has a pivotal role in promoting metastasis through differential regulation of ERK and AKT, and underscore the potential for targeting the FGFR in advanced ErbB2-amplified breast tumors.
Project description:The mammary epithelium is thought to be stabilized by cell-cell adhesion mediated mainly by E-cadherin (E-cad). Here, we show that another cadherin, retinal cadherin (R-cad), is critical for maintenance of the epithelial phenotype. R-cad is expressed in nontransformed mammary epithelium but absent from tumorigenic cell lines. In vivo, R-cad was prominently expressed in the epithelium of both ducts and lobules. In human breast cancer, R-cad was down-regulated with tumor progression, with high expression in ductal carcinoma in situ and reduced expression in invasive duct carcinomas. By comparison, E-cad expression persisted in invasive breast tumors and cell lines where R-cad was lost. Consistent with these findings, R-cad knockdown in normal mammary epithelium stimulated invasiveness and disrupted formation of acini despite continued E-cad expression. Conversely, R-cad overexpression in aggressive cell lines induced glandular morphogenesis and inhibited invasiveness, tumor formation, and lung colonization. R-cad also suppressed the matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1), MMP2, and cyclooxygenase 2 gene expression associated with pulmonary metastasis. The data suggest that R-cad is an adhesion molecule of the mammary epithelium, which acts as a critical regulator of the normal phenotype. As a result, R-cad loss contributes to epithelial suppression and metastatic progression.
Project description:We have investigated the role of vascular-endothelial (VE)-cadherin in melanoma and breast cancer metastasis. We found that VE-cadherin is expressed in highly aggressive melanoma and breast cancer cell lines. Remarkably, inactivation of VE-cadherin triggered a significant loss of malignant traits (proliferation, adhesion, invasion and transendothelial migration) in melanoma and breast cancer cells. These effects, except transendothelial migration, were induced by the VE-cadherin RGD motifs. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated an interaction between VE-cadherin and ?2?1 integrin, with the RGD motifs found to directly affect ?1 integrin activation. VE-cadherin-mediated integrin signaling occurred through specific activation of SRC, ERK and JNK, including AKT in melanoma. Knocking down VE-cadherin suppressed lung colonization capacity of melanoma or breast cancer cells inoculated in mice, while pre-incubation with VE-cadherin RGD peptides promoted lung metastasis for both cancer types. Finally, an in silico study revealed the association of high VE-cadherin expression with poor survival in a subset of melanoma patients and breast cancer patients showing low CD34 expression. These findings support a general role for VE-cadherin and other RGD cadherins as critical regulators of lung and liver metastasis in multiple solid tumours. These results pave the way for cadherin-specific RGD targeted therapies to control disseminated metastasis in multiple cancers.
Project description:While first discovered in immunoreceptor signaling, the Syk protein kinase behaves as a tumor and metastasis suppressor in epithelial cells. Its reduced expression in breast and other carcinomas is correlated with decreased survival and increased metastasis risk, but its action mechanism remains largely unknown. Using phosphoproteomics we found that Syk phosphorylated E-cadherin and ?-, ?-, and p120-catenins on multiple tyrosine residues that concentrate at intercellular junctions. Increased Syk expression and activation enhanced E-cadherin/catenin phosphorylation, promoting their association and complex stability. In human breast cancer cells, Syk stimulated intercellular aggregation, E-cadherin recruitment and retention at adherens junctions, and promoted epithelial integrity, whereas it inhibited cell migration and invasion. Opposite effects were obtained with Syk knockdown or non-phosphorylatable mutant E-cadherin expression. Mechanistically, Syk stimulated the interaction of the E-cadherin/catenin complex with zonula occludens proteins and the actin cytoskeleton. Conditional Syk knockout in the lactating mouse mammary gland perturbed alveologenesis and disrupted E-cadherin localization at adherens junctions, corroborating the observations in cells. Hence, Syk is involved in the maintenance of the epithelial integrity of the mammary gland via the phosphorylation and stabilization of the E-cadherin/catenin adherens junction complex, thereby inhibiting cell migration and malignant tumor invasion.
Project description:Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) is an aggressive breast cancer subtype with poor response to chemotherapy. Besides loss of E-cadherin, a hallmark of ILC, genetic inactivation of PTEN is frequently observed in patients. Through concomitant Cre-mediated inactivation of E-cadherin and PTEN in mammary epithelium, we generated a mouse model of classical ILC (CLC), the main histological ILC subtype. While loss of E-cadherin induced cell dissemination and apoptosis, additional PTEN inactivation promoted cell survival and rapid formation of invasive mammary tumors that recapitulate the histological and molecular features, estrogen receptor (ER) status, growth kinetics, metastatic behavior, and tumor microenvironment of human CLC. Combined inactivation of E-cadherin and PTEN is sufficient to cause CLC development. These CLCs showed significant tumor regression upon BEZ235-mediated inhibition of PI3K signaling. In summary, this mouse model provides important insights into CLC development and suggests inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling as a potential therapeutic strategy for targeting CLC.