ABSTRACT: Here, we report unbiased screens for genes expressed in metastatic tumor cells that are associated with cell motility. These screens identified Ier2, an immediate early gene of unknown function, as potentially having a role in tumor cell motility and metastasis. Knockdown of Ier2 in 3T3 fibroblasts inhibited their motility upon relief of contact inhibition in monolayer wounding assays. Furthermore, ectopic Ier2 expression promoted the motility and invasiveness of poorly metastatic 1AS pancreatic tumor cells in vitro. Relief of contact inhibition was associated with translocation of the Ier2 protein from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in both 3T3 fibroblasts and 1AS tumor cells. Importantly, ectopic Ier2 expression in 1AS cells stimulated metastasis formation when cells were implanted into experimental animals. Furthermore, we found elevated Ier2 expression in a wide variety of human tumor types. This correlated with poor metastasis-free and overall survival in patients with colorectal adenocarcinomas. Together, these data reveal Ier2 as a new player in the regulation of tumor progression and metastasis, and suggest that Ier2 may be useful prognostically and therapeutically in the management of cancer.
Oncogene 11/2011; 31(33):3796-806. · 6.37 Impact Factor