ABSTRACT: Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a multifunctional serine/threonine kinase in cytoplasm. Recent studies showed that cancer patients with increased ILK expression had low survival, poor prognosis and increased metastasis. Although the causes of ILK overexpression remain to be fully elucidated, accumulating evidence suggests that its oncogenic capacity derives from its regulation of several downstream targets that provide cells with signals that promote proliferation, survival and migration. However, the mechanisms underlying tumor metastasis by ILK is still not fully understood. Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a critical event of cancer cells that triggers invasion and metastasis. We recently reported that knockdown of ILK inhibited the growth and induced apoptosis in human bladder cancer cells. Therefore, we postulate that ILK might involve in EMT. Here we further investigate the function of ILK with RNA interference in bladder cancer cells. Knockdown of ILK impeded an EMT with low Vimentin, Snail, Slug and Twist as well as high E-cadherin expression in vivo and vitro. In addition, we found that knockdown of ILK inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion as well as changed cell morphology, adhesion and rearranged cytoskeleton in vitro. We also demonstrated that ILK siRNA inhibited phosphorylation of downstream signaling targets Akt and GSK3β, increased expression of nm23-H1, as well as reduced expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in vivo and vitro. Furthermore, downregulation of ILK could increase expression of Ribonuclease inhibitor (RI), an important acidic cytoplasmic protein with many functions. Finally, the effects of ILK siRNA on bladder cancer cell phenotype and invasiveness translate into suppression for tumorigenesis and metastasis in vivo. Taken together, our findings highlight that ILK signaling pathway plays a novel role in the development of bladder cancer through regulating EMT. ILK could be a promising diagnostic marker and therapeutic target for bladder cancer.
Cellular signalling 06/2012; 24(6):1323-32. · 4.09 Impact Factor