EMT-associated factors promote invasive properties of uveal melanoma cells.
ABSTRACT: Transcription factors regulating the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program contribute to carcinogenesis and metastasis in many tumors, including cutaneous melanoma. However, little is known about the role of EMT factors in the growth and metastatic dissemination of uveal melanoma cells. Here, we analyzed the expression and functions of the EMT factors ZEB1, Twist1, and Snail1 in uveal melanoma cell lines and primary tumors.ZEB1, Twist1, and Snail1 mRNA levels were measured using qPCR in five uveal melanoma cell lines and in 30 primary tumors. Gene expression was used to determine class 1 and class 2 signatures in the primary tumors. Short hairpin RNA was used to downregulate the expressions of the EMT factors; then, growth and transwell invasion assays were performed.ZEB1, Twist1, and Snail1 were expressed in all five uveal melanoma lines, with ZEB1 having the highest protein levels. ZEB1 mRNA was significantly elevated in highly metastatic class 2 primary tumors for which survival data were not available, whereas a high gene expression of Twist1 was associated with a worse prognosis in a separate tumor cohort analyzed by expression profiling. The genetic downregulation of ZEB1 in OCM1, OMM1, and 92.1 resulted in a more than 50% reduction in invasion, but only suppressed growth in OMM1 cells. Suppression of Twist1 in Mel290 and OMM1 reduced growth and invasion by more than 50%. The downregulation of Snail1 in the 92.1 cell line reduced invasion by 50%, but did not interfere with growth.The downregulation of ZEB1, Twist1, and Snail1 reduces the invasive properties of uveal melanoma cells, and the elevated mRNA levels of ZEB1 and Twist1 are associated with a more aggressive clinical phenotype in uveal melanoma samples. Therefore, these factors could represent new therapeutic targets in patients with ocular melanoma.
Project description:To metastasize, carcinoma cells must attenuate cell-cell adhesion to disseminate into distant organs. A group of transcription factors, including Twist1, Snail1, Snail2, ZEB1, and ZEB2, have been shown to induce epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), thus promoting tumor dissemination. However, it is unknown whether these transcription factors function independently or coordinately to activate the EMT program. Here we report that direct induction of Snail2 is essential for Twist1 to induce EMT. Snail2 knockdown completely blocks the ability of Twist1 to suppress E-cadherin transcription. Twist1 binds to an evolutionarily conserved E-box on the proximate Snail2 promoter to induce its transcription. Snail2 induction is essential for Twist1-induced cell invasion and distant metastasis in mice. In human breast tumors, the expression of Twist1 and Snail2 is highly correlated. Together, our results show that Twist1 needs to induce Snail2 to suppress the epithelial branch of the EMT program and that Twist1 and Snail2 act together to promote EMT and tumor metastasis.
Project description:Cutaneous melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. This aggressiveness appears to be due to the cancer cells' ability to reversibly switch between phenotypes with non-invasive and invasive potential, and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is known to play a central role in this process. The transcription factor glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1) is a component of the canonical and noncanonical sonic hedgehog pathways. Although GLI1 has been suggested to be involved in melanoma progression, its precise role and the mechanism underlying invasion remain unclear. Here we investigated whether and how GLI1 is involved in the invasive ability of melanoma cells. Gli1 knockdown (KD) melanoma cell lines, established by using Gli1-targeting lentiviral short hairpin RNA, exhibited a markedly reduced invasion ability, but their MITF expression and activity were the same as controls. Gli1 KD melanoma cells also led to less lung metastasis in mice compared with control melanoma cells. Furthermore, the Gli1 KD melanoma cells underwent a mesenchymal-to-epithelial-like transition, accompanied by downregulation of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-inducing transcription factors (EMT-TF) Snail1, Zeb1 and Twist1, but not Snail2 or Zeb2. Collectively, these results indicate that GLI1 is important for maintaining the invasive and mesenchymal-like properties of melanoma cells independent of MITF, most likely by modulating a subset of EMT-TF. Our findings provide new insight into how heterogeneity and plasticity are achieved and regulated in melanoma.
Project description:Melanoma is the most aggressive and deadly form of cutaneous neoplasm due to its propensity to metastasize. Oncogenic BRAF drives sustained activation of the BRAF/MEK/ERK (MAPK) pathway and cooperates with PI3K/AKT/mTOR (PI3K) signaling to induce epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), leading to cell invasion and metastasis. Therefore, targeting these pathways is a promising preventive/therapeutic strategy. We have shown that fisetin, a flavonoid, reduces human melanoma cell invasion by inhibiting EMT. In addition, fisetin inhibited melanoma cell proliferation and tumor growth by downregulating the PI3K pathway. In this investigation, we aimed to determine whether fisetin can potentiate the anti-invasive and anti-metastatic effects of sorafenib in BRAF-mutated melanoma. We found that combination treatment (fisetin + sorafenib) more effectively reduced the migration and invasion of BRAF-mutated melanoma cells both in vitro and in raft cultures compared to individual agents. Combination treatment also effectively inhibited EMT as observed by a decrease in N-cadherin, vimentin and fibronectin and an increase in E-cadherin both in vitro and in xenograft tumors. Furthermore, combination therapy effectively inhibited Snail1, Twist1, Slug and ZEB1 protein expression compared to monotherapy. The expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in xenograft tumors was further reduced in combination treatment compared to individual agents. Bioluminescent imaging of athymic mice, intravenously injected with stably transfected CMV-luciferase-ires-puromycin.T2A.EGFP-tagged A375 melanoma cells, demonstrated fewer lung metastases following combination treatment versus monotherapy. Our findings demonstrate that fisetin potentiates the anti-invasive and anti-metastatic effects of sorafenib. Our data suggest that fisetin may be a worthy adjuvant chemotherapy for the management of melanoma.
Project description:Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a normal developmental program that is considered to also play an important role in cancer metastasis. Ultimate inducers of EMT are transcriptional repressors that individually can induce experimental EMT, yet in many cells, particularly cancer cells, multiple inducers are expressed simultaneously. Why, and if, and how they interact to regulate EMT is unanswered. Using RNA interference technology to affect protein knockdown and avoid potential overexpression artifact coupled with transient TGF? treatment to better mimic in vivo conditions we show, in both nontumorigenic and tumorigenic epithelial cancer cells, that Snail1 is uniquely required for EMT initiation, whereas Twist1 is required to maintain late EMT. Twist1, present in resting epithelial cells, is dispensable for EMT initiation. Mechanistically, in response to transient TGF? treatment, transient Snail1 expression represses Twist1 transcription directly, which is subsequently upregulated, as Snail1 levels decrease, to sustain E-cadherin downregulation and growth arrest of EMT. Persistent Twist1 expression is associated with a p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signal feedback loop that sustains growth-inhibitory signals characteristic of quiescent micrometastatic tumors. This Snail1-Twist1 temporal and spatial cooperation was also observed in vivo during human breast cancer progression to metastasis. Twist1 level, but not Snail1 level, and Twist1:Snail1 ratio in disseminated micrometastatic bone marrow tumor cells was found to correlate with survival and treatment resistance and is highly predictive of metastatic or recurrent disease.
Project description:There is evidence that tumour-stroma interactions have a major role in the neoplastic progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Tumour budding is thought to reflect the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); however, the relationship between tumour buds and EMT remains unclear. Here we characterize the tumour-budding- and stromal cells in PDAC at protein and mRNA levels concerning factors involved in EMT.mRNA in situ hybridisation and immunostaining for E-cadherin, ?-catenin, SNAIL1, ZEB1, ZEB2, N-cadherin and TWIST1 were assessed in the main tumour, tumour buds and tumour stroma on multipunch tissue microarrays from 120 well-characterised PDACs and associated with the clinicopathological features, including peritumoural (PTB) and intratumoural (ITB) budding.Tumour-budding cells showed increased levels of ZEB1 (P<0.0001) and ZEB2 (P=0.0119) and reduced E-cadherin and ?-catenin (P<0.0001, each) compared with the main tumour. Loss of membranous ?-catenin in the main tumour (P=0.0009) and tumour buds (P=0.0053), without nuclear translocation, as well as increased SNAIL1 in tumour and stromal cells (P=0.0002, each) correlated with high PTB. ZEB1 overexpression in the main tumour-budding and stromal cells was associated with high ITB (P=0.0084; 0.0250 and 0.0029, respectively) and high PTB (P=0.0005; 0.0392 and 0.0007, respectively). ZEB2 overexpression in stromal cells correlated with higher pT stage (P=0.03), lymphatic invasion (P=0.0172) and lymph node metastasis (P=0.0152).In the tumour microenvironment of phenotypically aggressive PDAC, tumour-budding cells express EMT hallmarks at protein and mRNA levels underlining their EMT-type character and are surrounded by stromal cells expressing high levels of the E-cadherin repressors ZEB1, ZEB2 and SNAIL1, this being strongly associated with the tumour-budding phenotype. Moreover, our findings suggest the existence of subtypes of stromal cells in PDAC with phenotypical and functional heterogeneity.
Project description:Background: Our previous studies have demonstrated that human papillomaviruse (HPV)-16 oncoproteins promoted epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), leading to non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) progression, but the underlying molecular mechanisms still remain unclear. PI3K/Akt/HIF-1? signaling pathway has been reported to mediate hypoxia-induced EMT. In this study, we further explored the role of PI3K/Akt/HIF-1? signaling pathway in HPV-16 oncoprotein-induced EMT in NSCLC cells. Methods: A549 and NCI-H460 NSCLC cells were transiently transfected with pEGFP-HPV-16 E6 or E7 constructs. Western blotting and RT-qPCR were respectively performed to determine the protein and mRNA expression of EMT-related transcription factors. HPV-16 E6 or E7-transfected NSCLC cells were co-transfected with specific HIF-1?-siRNA or pretreated with different concentrations of LY294002, a specific PI3K inhibitor, followed by the analysis of expression of EMT-related transcription factors. The correlation between HIF-1? and EMT-related transcription factors in NSCLC tissues was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining and Spearman rank correlation coefficient. Results: HPV-16 E6 and E7 oncoproteins upregulated the expression of Slug and Twist1, the EMT-related transcription factors, at both protein and mRNA levels in A549 and NCI-H460 cells. The co-transfection with specific HIF-1?-siRNA, but not the non-specific (NS)-siRNA, significantly abrogated HPV-16 oncoprotein-induced upregulation of ZEB1, Snail1, Slug, and Twist1 at both protein and mRNA levels. Additionally, pretreatment with LY294002 obviously blocked HPV-16 E6- and E7-induced Snail1, Slug, and Twist1 protein expression in A549 and NCI-H460 cells. Further analysis of clinical specimens showed that HIF-1? protein was strongly expressed in NSCLC tissues, which was positively correlated with ZEB1, Snail1, Slug, and Twist1 protein expression. Conclusions: PI3K/Akt/HIF-1? may contribute to the progression of HPV-associated NSCLC via mediating the expression of EMT-related transcription factors in NSCLC cells.
Project description:Basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Twist1 is a master regulator of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), a cellular program implicated in different stages of development as well as metastatic dissemination of carcinomas. Here, we show that Twist1 requires TGF-beta type-I receptor (TGFBR1)-activation to bind an enhancer region of downstream effector ZEB1, thereby inducing ZEB1 transcription and EMT. When TGFBR1-phosphorylation is inhibited, Twist1 generates a distinct cell state characterized by collective invasion, simultaneous proliferation and expression of endothelial markers. By contrast, TGFBR1-activation directs Twist1 to induce stable mesenchymal transdifferentiation through EMT, thereby generating cells that display single-cell invasion, but lose their proliferative capacity. In conclusion, preventing Twist1-induced EMT by inhibiting TGF?-signaling does not generally block acquisition of invasion, but switches mode from single-cell/non-proliferative to collective/proliferative. Together, these data reveal that transient Twist1-activation induces distinct cell states depending on signaling context and caution against the use of TGF?-inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy to target invasiveness.
Project description:Cell plasticity is emerging as a key regulator of tumor progression and metastasis. During carcinoma dissemination epithelial cells undergo epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) processes characterized by the acquisition of migratory/invasive properties, while the reverse, mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) process, is also essential for metastasis outgrowth. Different transcription factors, called EMT-TFs, including Snail, bHLH and Zeb families are drivers of the EMT branch of epithelial plasticity, and can be post-transcriptionally downregulated by several miRNAs, as the miR-200 family. The specific or redundant role of different EMT-TFs and their functional interrelations are not fully understood. To study the interplay between different EMT-TFs, comprehensive gain and loss-of-function studies of Snail1, Snail2 and/or Zeb1 factors were performed in the prototypical MDCK cell model system. We here describe that Snail1 and Zeb1 are mutually required for EMT induction while continuous Snail1 and Snail2 expression, but not Zeb1, is needed for maintenance of the mesenchymal phenotype in MDCK cells. In this model system, EMT is coordinated by Snail1 and Zeb1 through transcriptional and epigenetic downregulation of the miR-200 family. Interestingly, Snail1 is involved in epigenetic CpG DNA methylation of the miR-200 loci, essential to maintain the mesenchymal phenotype. The present results thus define a novel functional interplay between Snail and Zeb EMT-TFs in miR200f regulation providing a molecular link to their previous involvement in the generation of EMT process in vivo. Expression analysis of MDCK over-expression EMT-TF Analysis of 7 overexpression MDCK cells each of them using biological rpelicates (MDCK-E47, Snail2, Snail1, Twist1, Tiwst2, Zeb1, Zeb2)
Project description:Currently, there is extensive information about circulating tumor cells (CTC) and their prognostic value; however, little is known about other characteristics of these cells. In this prospective study, we assessed the gene transcripts of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-inducing transcription factors (EMT-TF) and cancer stem cell (CSC) features in patients with HER2(+) metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Epithelial cells were enriched from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) using antibody-coated anti-CD326 antibody (CD326(+)) magnetic beads, and the residual CD326(-) PBMCs were further depleted of leukocytes using anti-CD45 antibody-coated magnetic beads (CD326(-)CD45(-)). RNA was extracted from all cell fractions, reverse transcribed to cDNA, and subjected to quantitative reverse transcription PCR to detect EMT-TFs (TWIST1, SNAIL1, ZEB1, and TG2) as a measure of CTCs undergoing EMT (EMT-CTCs). In addition, PBMCs were analyzed using multiparameter flow cytometry for ALDH activity and CSCs that express CD24, CD44, and CD133. Twenty-eight patients were included in this study. At least one EMT-TF mRNA was elevated in the CTCs of 88.2% of patients and in the CD326(-)CD45(-) cell fraction of 60.7% of patients. The CD326(-)CD45(-) fraction of patients with elevated SNAIL1 and ZEB1 transcripts also had a higher percentage of ALDH(+)/CD133(+) cells in their blood than did patients with normal SNAIL1 and ZEB1 expression (P = 0.038). Our data indicate that patients with HER2(+) MBCs have EMT-CTCs. Moreover, an enrichment of CSCs was found in CD326(-)CD45(-) cells. Additional studies are needed to determine whether EMT-CTCs and CSCs have prognostic value in patients with HER2(+) MBCs treated with trastuzumab-based therapy.
Project description:The aim of this study was to explore whether the long noncoding RNA nuclear paraspeckle assembly transcript 1 (NEAT1)/miR-34a/Snail1 and NEAT1/miR-204/Zeb1 pathways are involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of lens epithelial cells (LECs). Primary human LECs (HLECs) were separated and cultured. Our results identified that TGF-?2 induces NEAT1 overexpression in a dose-dependent manner and a time-dependent manner. Additionally, TGF-?2 induced downregulation of E-cadherin and upregulation of fibronectin in primary HLECs through a NEAT1-dependent mechanism. Microarray analysis showed that NEAT1 overexpression inhibited the miR-34a and miR-204 levels in the LECs. The expression of miR-34a and miR-204 was decreased, and the levels of Snail1 and Zeb1 were elevated in human posterior capsule opacification- (PCO-) attached LECs and the LECs obtained from anterior subcapsular cataract (ASC) by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Mechanistic studies revealed that NEAT1 negatively regulates miR-34a or miR-204, and miR-34a or miR-204 directly targets Snail1 or Zeb1 by luciferase assay and RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation assay, respectively. Overall, the NEAT1/miR-34a/Snail1 and NEAT1/miR-204/Zeb1 pathways are involved in TGF-?2-induced EMT of HLECs. In summary, TGF-?2 induces NEAT1 overexpression, which in turn suggests that NEAT1 acts as a ceRNA targeting Snail1 or Zeb1 by binding miR-34a or miR-204, and promotes the progression of EMT of LECs.