[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twist is a key transcription activator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). It remains unclear how Twist induces gene expression. Here we report a mechanism by which Twist recruits BRD4 to direct WNT5A expression in basal-like breast cancer (BLBC). Twist contains a "histone H4-mimic" GK-X-GK motif that is diacetylated by Tip60. The diacetylated Twist binds the second bromodomain of BRD4, whose first bromodomain interacts with acetylated H4, thereby constructing an activated Twist/BRD4/P-TEFb/RNA-Pol II complex at the WNT5A promoter and enhancer. Pharmacologic inhibition of the Twist-BRD4 association reduced WNT5A expression and suppressed invasion, cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties, and tumorigenicity of BLBC cells. Our study indicates that the interaction with BRD4 is critical for the oncogenic function of Twist in BLBC.
Cancer cell 02/2014; 25(2):210-25. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: LSD1 is a critical chromatin modulator that controls cellular pluripotency and differentiation through the demethylation of H3K4me1/2. Overexpression of LSD1 has been observed in many types of tumors and is correlated with its oncogenic effects in tumorigenesis. However, the mechanism leading to LSD1 upregulation in tumors remains unclear. Using an unbiased siRNA screening against all the human deubiquitinases, we identified USP28 as a bona fide deubiquitinase of LSD1. USP28 interacted with and stabilized LSD1 via deubiquitination. USP28 overexpression correlated with LSD1 upregulation in multiple cancer cell lines and breast tumor samples. Knockdown of USP28 resulted in LSD1 destabilization, leading to the suppression of cancer stem cell (CSC)-like characteristics in vitro and inhibition of tumorigenicity in vivo, which can be rescued by ectopic LSD1 expression. Our study reveals a critical mechanism underlying the epigenetic regulation by USP28 and provides another treatment approach against breast cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) enhances cancer invasiveness and confers tumor cells with cancer stem cell (CSC)-like characteristics. We show that the Snail-G9a-Dnmt1 complex, which is critical for E-cadherin promoter silencing, is also required for the promoter methylation of fructose-1,6-biphosphatase (FBP1) in basal-like breast cancer (BLBC). Loss of FBP1 induces glycolysis and results in increased glucose uptake, macromolecule biosynthesis, formation of tetrameric PKM2, and maintenance of ATP production under hypoxia. Loss of FBP1 also inhibits oxygen consumption and reactive oxygen species production by suppressing mitochondrial complex I activity; this metabolic reprogramming results in an increased CSC-like property and tumorigenicity by enhancing the interaction of β-catenin with T-cell factor. Our study indicates that the loss of FBP1 is a critical oncogenic event in EMT and BLBC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancers are highly heterogeneous but can be grouped into subtypes based on several criteria, including level of expression of certain markers. Claudin-low breast cancer (CLBC) is associated with early metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy, while gene profiling indicates it is characterized by the expression of markers of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) - a phenotypic conversion linked with metastasis. Although the epigenetic program controlling the phenotypic and cellular plasticity of EMT remains unclear, one contributor may be methylation of the E-cadherin promoter, resulting in decreased E-cadherin expression, a hallmark of EMT. Indeed, reduced E-cadherin often occurs in CLBC and may contribute to the early metastasis and poor patient survival associated with this disease. Here, we have determined that methylation of histone H3 on lysine 9 (H3K9me2) is critical for promoter DNA methylation of E-cadherin in three TGF-β-induced EMT model cell lines, as well as in CLBC cell lines. Further, Snail interacted with G9a, a major euchromatin methyltransferase responsible for H3K9me2, and recruited G9a and DNA methyltransferases to the E-cadherin promoter for DNA methylation. Knockdown of G9a restored E-cadherin expression by suppressing H3K9me2 and blocking DNA methylation. This resulted in inhibition of cell migration and invasion in vitro and suppression of tumor growth and lung colonization in in vivo models of CLBC metastasis. Our study not only reveals a critical mechanism underlying the epigenetic regulation of EMT but also paves a way for the development of new treatment strategies for CLBC.
The Journal of clinical investigation 03/2012; 122(4):1469-86. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Snail has moved into the fast lane of development and cancer biology with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) emerging as one of the hottest topics in medical science within the past few years. Snail not only acts primarily as a key inducer of EMT but also plays an important role in cell survival, immune regulation and stem cell biology. This review focuses on the regulation of Snail and discusses the EMT-dependent and -independent functions of Snail in development and disease. Understanding the regulation and functional roles of Snail will shed new light on the mechanism of tumor progression and the development of novel cancer therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a transdifferentiation programme. The mechanism underlying the epigenetic regulation of EMT remains unclear. In this study, we identified that Snail1 interacted with histone lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1). We demonstrated that the SNAG domain of Snail1 and the amine oxidase domain of LSD1 were required for their mutual interaction. Interestingly, the sequence of the SNAG domain is similar to that of the histone H3 tail, and the interaction of Snail1 with LSD1 can be blocked by LSD1 enzymatic inhibitors and a histone H3 peptide. We found that the formation of a Snail1-LSD1-CoREST ternary complex was critical for the stability and function of these proteins. The co-expression of these molecules was found in cancer cell lines and breast tumour specimens. Furthermore, we showed that the SNAG domain of Snail1 was critical for recruiting LSD1 to its target gene promoters and resulted in suppression of cell migration and invasion. Our study suggests that the SNAG domain of Snail1 resembles a histone H3-like structure and functions as a molecular hook for recruiting LSD1 to repress gene expression in metastasis.
The EMBO Journal 04/2010; 29(11):1803-16. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is critical for appropriate embryo implantation, embryogenesis, wound healing, tissue
regeneration, and organ development. During this EMT process, epithelial cells lose the adherent and tight junctions. They
gain a mesenchymal cell phenotype that enables them to invade and migrate over long distances and resist apoptosis. A similar
process is also detected in tumor metastasis, suggesting that the tumor cells hijack this developmental pathway for tumor
progression. Here, we review three different types of EMT in physiological and pathological conditions with special focus
on the new development on type 3 EMT in metastasis. We summarize the recent new findings on tumor microenvironment, signaling
pathways, and mechanisms underlying the regulation of EMT at metastasis. Understanding the biology of EMT will open new avenues
for controlling fibrosis and cancer progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been increasingly recognized that tumor microenvironment plays an important role in carcinogenesis. Inflammatory component is present and contributes to tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis and resistance to hormonal and chemotherapy. This review highlights the role of inflammation in the tumor metastasis. We focus on the function of proinflammatory factors, particularly cytokines during tumor metastasis. Understanding of the mechanisms by which inflammation contributes to metastasis will lead to innovative approach for treating cancer. How tumor spread remains an enigma and has received great attention in recent years, as metastasis is the major cause of cancer mortality. The complex and highly selective metastatic cascade not only depends on the intrinsic properties of tumor cells but also the microenvironment that they derive from. An inflammatory milieu consisting of infiltrated immune cells and their secretory cytokines, chemokines and growth factors contribute significantly to the invasive and metastatic traits of cancer cells. Here, we review new insights into the molecular pathways that link inflammation in the tumor microenvironment to metastasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Snail, a key inducer of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), plays an important role in cancer metastasis. To better understand the role of Snail in the metastasis of ovarian carcinoma, expression of Snail was knocked down by antisense-Snail in the highly metastatic ovarian cancer cell line HO8910PM. Gene array analysis revealed that blocking Snail expression suppressed the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and upregulated TIMP3, an MMP inhibitor. These findings suggest that Snail interacts with MMP during tumor invasion and metastasis. In addition, we examined the role of Snail in an ovarian cancer orthotopic model by using the antisense-Snail HO8910PM cell line. We found that the size of primary ovarian cancer tumor and the number of metastatic lesions were significantly reduced when Snail was knocked down. Confirming our initial findings, the activity of MMP2 was greatly inhibited in tumors from antisense-Snail cells. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis on ovarian cancer progression tissue array demonstrated that the expression of Snail was significantly higher in metastatic lesions, and Snail expression correlated with the stage of ovarian cancer. Interestingly, in early-stage tumors, Snail was localized in both the cytoplasm and nucleus. In late stage and metastatic lesions, the level of Snail was elevated, and Snail was localized to the nucleus. The expression level and nuclear localization of Snail were also inversely correlated with E-cadherin expression. Overall, our study indicates that Snail plays a critical role in tumor growth and metastasis of ovarian carcinoma through regulation of MMP activity.
International Journal of Cancer 09/2009; 126(9):2102-11. · 6.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The increased motility and invasiveness of tumor cells are reminiscent of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which occurs during embryonic development, wound healing, and metastasis. In this study, we found that Snail is stabilized by the inflammatory cytokine TNFalpha through the activation of the NF-kappaB pathway. We demonstrated that NF-kappaB is required for the induction of COP9 signalosome 2 (CSN2), which, in turn, blocks the ubiquitination and degradation of Snail. Furthermore, we showed that the expression of Snail correlated with the activation of NF-kappaB in cancer cell lines and metastatic tumor samples. Knockdown of Snail expression inhibited cell migration and invasion induced by inflammatory cytokines and suppressed inflammation-mediated breast cancer metastasis. Our study provides a plausible mechanism for inflammation-induced metastasis.
Cancer cell 06/2009; 15(5):416-28. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Down-regulation of E-cadherin plays an important role in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is critical in normal development and disease states such as tissue fibrosis and metastasis. Snail, a key transcription repressor of E-cadherin, is a labile protein with a short half-life and is regulated through phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and degradation. Previously, we showed that GSK-3beta phosphorylated two stretches of serine residues within the nuclear export signal and the destruction box of Snail, provoking its cytoplasmic export for ubiquitin-mediated proteasome degradation. However, the mechanism of Snail dephosphorylation and the identity of the Snail-specific phosphatase remain elusive. Using a functional genomic screening, we found that the small C-terminal domain phosphatase (SCP) is a specific phosphatase for Snail. SCP interacted and co-localized with Snail in the nucleus. We also found that SCP expression induced Snail dephosphorylation and stabilization in vitro and in vivo. However, a catalytically inactive mutant of SCP had no effect on Snail. Furthermore, we found that Snail stabilization induced by SCP enhanced snail activity in the suppression of E-cadherin and increased cell migration. Thus, our findings indicate that SCP functions as a Snail phosphatase to control its phosphorylation and stabilization, and our study provides novel insights for the regulation of Snail during EMT and cancer metastasis.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2008; 284(1):640-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key step during embryonic morphogenesis, heart development, chronic degenerative fibrosis, and cancer metastasis. Several distinct traits have been conveyed by EMT, including cell motility, invasiveness, resistance to apoptosis, and some properties of stem cells. Many signal pathways have contributed to the induction of EMT, such as transforming growth factor-beta, Wnt, Hedgehog, Notch, and nuclear factor-kappaB. Over the last few years, increasing evidence has shown that EMT plays an essential role in tumor progression and metastasis. Understanding the molecular mechanism of EMT has a great effect in unraveling the metastatic cascade and may lead to novel interventions for metastatic disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) can be detected in the cell nucleus, such as EGFR, HER-2, HER-3, HER-4, and fibroblast growth factor receptor. EGFR, HER-2 and HER-4 contain transactivational activity and function as transcription co-factors to activate gene promoters. High EGFR in tumor nuclei correlates with increased tumor proliferation and poor survival in cancer patients. However, the mechanism by which cell-surface EGFR translocates into the cell nucleus remains largely unknown. Here, we found that EGFR co-localizes and interacts with importins alpha1/beta1, carriers that are critical for macromolecules nuclear import. EGFR variant mutated at the nuclear localization signal (NLS) is defective in associating with importins and in entering the nuclei indicating that EGFR's NLS is critical for EGFR/importins interaction and EGFR nuclear import. Moreover, disruption of receptor internalization process using chemicals and forced expression of dominant-negative Dynamin II mutant suppressed nuclear entry of EGFR. Additional evidences suggest an involvement of endosomal sorting machinery in EGFR nuclear translocalization. Finally, we found that nuclear export of EGFR may involve CRM1 exportin as we detected EGFR/CRM1 interaction and markedly increased nuclear EGFR following exposure to leptomycin B, a CRM1 inhibitor. Collectively, these data suggest the importance of receptor endocytosis, endosomal sorting machinery, interaction with importins alpha1/beta1, and exportin CRM1 in EGFR nuclear-cytoplasmic trafficking. Together, our work sheds light into the nature and regulation of the nuclear EGFR pathway and provides a plausible mechanism by which cells shuttle cell-surface EGFR and potentially other RTKs through the nuclear pore complex and into the nuclear compartment.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 09/2006; 98(6):1570-83. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family, such as Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL, play a central role in preventing the induction of apoptosis via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. It has been previously shown that induction of apoptosis by the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bok is not antagonized by either Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL, suggesting that Bok might have a unique role in the apoptotic cascade. We showed here that human Bok is the only member of the Bcl-2 family to have a leucine-rich sequence indicative of a nuclear export signal within its BH3 domain. Western blot analysis of nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions identified Bok in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm of HEK 293T cells, HeLa cells, and breast cancer cells, and its nuclear concentration increased after treatment of those cells with leptomycin B, an inhibitor of the exportin Crm1. Immunocytochemistry of flag-tagged Bok confirmed its nuclear localization. Mutating the nuclear export signal of Bok by site-directed mutagenesis resulted in an increase in its nuclear localization and apoptotic activity. We also found that Crm1 interacted with wild-type Bok but not with the mutated form. These results suggest that nuclear export of Bok is a regulated process mediated by Crm1, and constitutes the first report of a link between the apoptotic activity and nuclear localization of a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enhancer of Zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is a methyltransferase that plays an important role in many biological processes through its ability to trimethylate lysine 27 in histone H3. Here, we show that Akt phosphorylates EZH2 at serine 21 and suppresses its methyltransferase activity by impeding EZH2 binding to histone H3, which results in a decrease of lysine 27 trimethylation and derepression of silenced genes. Our results imply that Akt regulates the methylation activity, through phosphorylation of EZH2, which may contribute to oncogenesis.