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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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the expression of slug in a large set of lung squamous and adenocarcinomas to determine common or dissimilar features in its expression in these two most common forms of lung cancer. To investigate slug related tumor spread we studied the expression of vimentin, claudin 1, MMP2 and MMP9 in these tumors and their relation to slug. Addition, cell invasion assays, mRNA analysis and zymographic tests were performed to study epitheliomesenchymal transition (EMT) related changes in slug blocked lung cell lines. According to the results slug expression did not significantly differ between squamous (SCC) and adenocarcinoma (AC) (P = 0.25). In SCC, slug associated with vimentin (P = 0.016). In AC, claudin 1 associated with MMP2 (P = 0.037). In SCC slug expression had a poor prognositic significance (P = 0.006) and it had independent prognostic value (P = 0.037). In AC MMP2 had a worsening impact on survival (P = 0.021) and it had independent prognostic value (P = 0.002). In cell invasion assays, slug knockdown inhibited the invasion and migration of BEAS-2B, SK-LU1 and SK-MES1 cell lines. The mRNA expression of claudin 1 was downregulated in SK-LU1 cell line. Both tumor cell lines expressed MMP2 and in SK-MES1 slug inhibited line MMP2 appeared to decrease. The results show that slug associated EMT is more pronounced in lung SCC than AC. Slug associated with vimentin in SCC and had an independent prognostic value in this tumor type. Forced slug inhibition might be one putative way of treatment of SCC of the lung.

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