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Slug (SNAI2) expression in oral SCC cells results in altered cell-cell adhesion and increased motility

Oral Biology Department, College of Dentistry, The University of Nebraska Medical Center, Lincoln, NE, USA.
Cell adhesion & migration (Impact Factor: 3.4). 07/2011; 5(4):315-22. DOI: 10.4161/cam.5.4.17040
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Snail family of zinc finger transcription factors plays an important role in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in a variety of tissues and systems. Slug (SNAI2) expression has been shown to directly contribute to a subset of events required for EMT in events such as re-epithelialization during wound healing and neural crest cell migration. In addition, slug expression was shown to correlate with disease recurrence in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. Based on this association we chose to specifically examine the effects of exogenous slug expression in HNSCC cells and specifically assess adhesive junction assembly and the motility characteristics in these cells. Slug expression led to changes in adherens junction and desmosome assembly characterized by a classical cadherin switch and loss of desmosome assembly. Additionally, we performed gene expression profiling to identify novel slug dependent gene expression changes in a HNSCC cell line. In addition to genes known to be altered during EMT, we identified a novel set of Slug responsive genes that will provide a better understanding of slug overexpression during EMT and HNSCC progression.

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    • "This is the first report of the direct relationship between Snail transcription factor and retinal pigment epithelial–mesenchymal transition. EMT is a well characterized process defined morphologically as the conversion of epithelial cells to a fibroblast or mesenchymal morphology and is known to be dependent on the Snail family of transcription factors [3] [19] [20] "
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