The embryonic programme ‘epithelial–mesenchymal transition' (EMT) is thought to promote malignant tumour progression. The transcriptional repressor zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) is a crucial inducer of EMT in various human tumours, and was recently shown to promote invasion and metastasis of tumour cells. Here, we report that ZEB1 directly suppresses transcription of microRNA-200 family members miR-141 and miR-200c, which strongly activate epithelial differentiation in pancreatic, colorectal and breast cancer cells. Notably, the EMT activators transforming growth factor β2 and ZEB1 are the predominant targets downregulated by these microRNAs. These results indicate that ZEB1 triggers an microRNA-mediated feedforward loop that stabilizes EMT and promotes invasion of cancer cells. Alternatively, depending on the environmental trigger, this loop might switch and induce epithelial differentiation, and thus explain the strong intratumorous heterogeneity observed in many human cancers.
EMT; feedback loop; invasion; microRNA; ZEB1
The E-box binding zinc finger transcription factors Slug and ZEB1 are important repressors of E-cadherin, contributing to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in primary epithelial cancers. Activator or repressor status of EMT transcription factors defines consequences for tumorigenesis. We show that changes in expression levels of Slug in melanoma cell lines lead to concomitant alterations of ZEB1 expression. Electrophoretic mobility shift, luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays identified Slug as a direct transcriptional activator at E-boxes of the ZEB1 promoter. Transcriptional activation of ZEB1 was demonstrated to be specific for Slug, since EMT regulators Snail and Twist failed to influence ZEB1 expression. Slug and ZEB1 cooperatively repressed E-cadherin expression resulting in decreased adhesion to human keratinocytes, but promoted migration of melanoma cells. Our results show that the transcriptional activity of ZEB1 is increased by Slug, suggesting a hierarchical organized expression of EMT transcription factors through directed activation, triggering an EMT-like process in melanoma.
By transactivating expression of miRNAs that repress expression of the ZEB1 and ZEB2 transcription factors, p53 inhibits the epithelial–mesenchymal transition.
p53 suppresses tumor progression and metastasis. Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process in tumor progression and metastasis. The transcription factors ZEB1 and ZEB2 promote EMT. Here, we show that p53 suppresses EMT by repressing expression of ZEB1 and ZEB2. By profiling 92 primary hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and 9 HCC cell lines, we found that p53 up-regulates microRNAs (miRNAs), including miR-200 and miR-192 family members. The miR-200 family members transactivated by p53 then repress ZEB1/2 expression. p53-regulated miR-192 family members also repress ZEB2 expression. Inhibition or overexpression of the miRNAs affects p53-regulated EMT by altering ZEB1 and ZEB2 expression. Our findings indicate that p53 can regulate EMT, and that p53-regulated miRNAs are critical mediators of p53-regulated EMT.
Overexpression of zinc finger E-box binding homeobox transcription factor 1 (ZEB1) in cancer leads to epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and increased metastasis. As opposed to overexpression, we show that mutation of the ZEB1 gene in mice causes a mesenchymal-epithelial transition in gene expression characterized by ectopic expression of epithelial genes such as E-cadherin and loss of expression of mesenchymal genes such as vimentin. And in contrast to rapid proliferation in cancer cells where ZEB1 is overexpressed, this mesenchymal-epithelial transition in mutant mice is associated with diminished proliferation of progenitor cells at sites of development defects including the forming palate, skeleton and CNS. ZEB1 gene dosage-dependent deregulation of epithelial and mesenchymal genes extends to mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), and mutant MEFs also display diminished replicative capacity in culture, leading to premature senescence. Replicative senescence in MEFs is classically triggered by products of the INK4a gene. However, this INK4a pathway is not activated during senescence of ZEB1 gene mutant MEFs. Instead, there is ectopic expression of two other cell cycle inhibitory cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors, p15INK4b and p21CDKN1a. And, we demonstrated that this ectopic expression of p15INK4b extends in vivo to sites of diminished progenitor cell proliferation and developmental defects in ZEB1 gene null mice.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition is a form of cellular plasticity that is critical for embryonic development and tumor metastasis. This study shows that a signaling network involving autocrine TGF-β signaling, ZEB transcription factors, and the miR-200 family regulates interconversion between epithelial and mesenchymal states.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a form of cellular plasticity that is critical for embryonic development and tumor metastasis. A double-negative feedback loop involving the miR-200 family and ZEB (zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox) transcription factors has been postulated to control the balance between epithelial and mesenchymal states. Here we demonstrate using the epithelial Madin Darby canine kidney cell line model that, although manipulation of the ZEB/miR-200 balance is able to repeatedly switch cells between epithelial and mesenchymal states, the induction and maintenance of a stable mesenchymal phenotype requires the establishment of autocrine transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling to drive sustained ZEB expression. Furthermore, we show that prolonged autocrine TGF-β signaling induced reversible DNA methylation of the miR-200 loci with corresponding changes in miR-200 levels. Collectively, these findings demonstrate the existence of an autocrine TGF-β/ZEB/miR-200 signaling network that regulates plasticity between epithelial and mesenchymal states. We find a strong correlation between ZEBs and TGF-β and negative correlations between miR-200 and TGF-β and between miR-200 and ZEBs, in invasive ductal carcinomas, consistent with an autocrine TGF-β/ZEB/miR-200 signaling network being active in breast cancers.
MicroRNAs have been implicated in tumor progression. Recent studies have shown that miR-200 family regulates Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) by targeting zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) and ZEB2. Emerging evidence from our laboratory and others suggest that the processes of EMT can be triggered by various growth factors such as Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-β) and Platelet-Derived Growth Factor-D (PDGF-D). Moreover, we have recently reported that over-expression of PDGF-D in prostate cancer cells (PC3 PDGF-D cells) leads to the acquisition of EMT phenotype, and this model offers an opportunity for investigating the molecular interplay between PDGF-D signaling and EMT. Here we report, for the first time, significant down-regulation of miR-200 family in PC3 PDGF-D cells as well as in PC3 cells exposed to purified active PDGF-D protein, resulting in the up-regulation of ZEB1, ZEB2 and snail2 expression. Interestingly, re-expression of miR-200b in PC3 PDGF-D cells led to the reversal of EMT phenotype, which was associated with the down-regulation of ZEB1, ZEB2 and snail2 expression and these results were consistent with increased gene expressions of epithelial markers. Moreover, transfection of PC3 PDGF-D cells with miR-200b inhibited cell migration and invasion with concomitant repression of cell adhesion to culture surface and cell detachment. From these results, we conclude that PDGF-D induced acquisition of EMT phenotype of PC3 cells is in part due to repression of miR-200 and that any novel strategies by which miR-200 could be up-regulated would become a promising approach for the treatment of invasive prostate cancer.
Platelet-Derived Growth Factor-D (PDGF-D); Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition (EMT); miR-200; zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1); snail2
The zinc finger transcription factor, Zeb1, binds to E-box like sequences and is important for maintaining repression of epithelial specification genes in vivo. Overexpression of Zeb1 in cancer triggers epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which facilitates metastasis. Mutation of ZEB1 in humans is linked to posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD), where an epithelial transition of the corneal endothelium is associated with abnormal endothelial proliferation. The purpose of this study is to determine whether Zeb1 null or heterozygous mice may provide an animal model for PPCD.
Corneal morphology, protein and mRNA expression and cell proliferation were compared in wild-type and Zeb1 gene knockout mice by immunostaining, real time PCR and BrdU incorporation. mRNA expression in isolated embryo fibroblasts derived from wild-type, Zeb1 heterozygous and null mice was analyzed by real time PCR
Zeb1 null mice late in gestation show ectopic expression of epithelial genes in the corneal endothelium and keratocytes, including the basement membrane component, COL4A3, which is ectopically expressed by the corneal endothelium in PPCD. These embryos also show abnormal corneal endothelial and keratocyte proliferation, corneal thickening, and corneolenticular and iridocorneal adhesions. Adult Zeb1 heterozygous mice exhibit these same corneal defects. The ectopic expression of epithelial genes extended to embryonic fibroblasts derived from Zeb1 heterozygous and null mice, suggesting that Zeb1 may have a more general role in suppression of an epithelial phenotype.
We conclude that Zeb1 heterozygous and null mice show features of PPCD, and thus should provide an animal model for genetic dissection of pathways contributing to the disease.
The zinc finger E-box binding protein 1 (ZEB1) transcription factor belongs to a two-member family of zinc-finger homeodomain proteins involved in physiological and pathological events mostly relating to cell migration and epithelial to mesenchymal transitions (EMTs). ZEB1 (also known as δEF1, zfhx1a, TCF8, and Zfhep) plays a key role in regulating such diverse processes as T-cell development, skeletal patterning, reproduction, and cancer cell metastasis. However, the factors that regulate its expression and consequently the signaling pathways in which ZEB1 participates are poorly defined. Because it is induced by estrogen and progesterone and is high in prostate cancer, we investigated whether tcf8, which encodes ZEB1, is regulated by androgen. Data herein demonstrate that tcf8 is induced by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the human PC-3/AR prostate cancer cell line and that this induction is mediated by two androgen response elements (AREs). These results demonstrate that ZEB1 is an intermediary in androgen signaling pathways.
ZEB is a zinc finger-homeodomain protein that represses transcription by binding to a subset of E-box sequences. ZEB inhibits muscle differentiation in mammalian systems, and its Drosophila orthologue, zfh-1, inhibits somatic and cardiac muscle differentiation during Drosophila embryogenesis. ZEB also binds to the promoter of pivotal hematopoietic genes (including those encoding interleukin-2, CD4, GATA-3, and α4-integrin), and mice in which ZEB has been genetically targeted show thymic atrophy, severe defects in lymphocyte differentiation, and increased expression of the α4-integrin and CD4. Here, we demonstrate that ZEB contains separate repressor domains which function in T lymphocytes and muscle, respectively. The most C-terminal domain inhibits muscle differentiation in mammalian cells by specifically blocking the transcriptional activity of the myogenic factor MEF2C. The more N-terminal domain blocks activity of hematopoietic transcription factors such as c-myb, members of the ets family, and TFE-III. Our results demonstrate that ZEB has evolved with two independent repressor domains which target distinct sets of transcription factors and function in different tissues.
MicroRNA-200c (miR-200c) has been shown to suppress epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is attributed mainly to targeting of ZEB1/ZEB2, repressors of the cell-cell contact protein E-cadherin. Here we demonstrated that modulation of miR-200c in breast cancer cells regulates cell migration, cell elongation, and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-induced stress fiber formation by impacting the reorganization of cytoskeleton that is independent of the ZEB/E-cadherin axis. We identified FHOD1 and PPM1F, direct regulators of the actin cytoskeleton, as novel targets of miR-200c. Remarkably, expression levels of FHOD1 and PPM1F were inversely correlated with the level of miR-200c in breast cancer cell lines, breast cancer patient samples, and 58 cancer cell lines of various origins. Furthermore, individual knockdown/overexpression of these target genes phenocopied the effects of miR-200c overexpression/inhibition on cell elongation, stress fiber formation, migration, and invasion. Mechanistically, targeting of FHOD1 by miR-200c resulted in decreased expression and transcriptional activity of serum response factor (SRF), mediated by interference with the translocation of the SRF coactivator mycocardin-related transcription factor A (MRTF-A). This finally led to downregulation of the expression and phosphorylation of the SRF target myosin light chain 2 (MLC2) gene, required for stress fiber formation and contractility. Thus, miR-200c impacts on metastasis by regulating several EMT-related processes, including a novel mechanism involving the direct targeting of actin-regulatory proteins.
The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a developmental process enabling epithelial cells to gain a migratory mesenchymal phenotype. In cancer, this process contributes to metastases; however the regulatory signals and mechanistic details are not fully elucidated. Here, we sought to identify the subset of genes regulated in lung cancer by ZEB1, an E-box transcriptional repressor known to induce EMT. Using an Affymetrix-based expression database of 38 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, we identified 324 genes that correlated negatively with ZEB1 and 142 that were positively correlated. A mesenchymal gene pattern (low E-cadherin, high Vimentin or N-cadherin) was significantly associated with ZEB1 and ZEB2, but not with Snail, Slug, Twist1 or Twist2. Among 8 genes selected for validation, 7 were confirmed to correlate with ZEB1 by quantitative real-time RT-PCR in a series of 22 NSCLC cell lines, either negatively (CDS1, EpCAM, ESRP1, ESRP2, ST14) or positively (FGFR1, Vimentin). In addition, overexpression or knockdown of ZEB1 led to corresponding changes in gene expression, demonstrating that these genes are also regulated by ZEB1, either directly or indirectly. Of note, the combined knockdown of ZEB1 and ZEB2 led to apparent synergistic responses in gene expression. Furthermore, these responses were not restricted to artificial settings, since most genes were similarly regulated during a physiologic induction of EMT by TGF-β plus EGF. Finally, the absence of ST14 (matriptase) was linked to ZEB1 positivity in lung cancer tissue microarrays, implying that the regulation observed in vitro applies to the human disease. In summary, this study identifies a new set of ZEB-regulated genes in human lung cancer cells and supports the hypothesis that ZEB1 and ZEB2 are key regulators of the EMT process in this disease.
lung cancer; ZEB1; ZEB2; EMT; ST14; NSCLC
Tumor progression shares many characteristics with the process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Cells that have undergone an EMT are known to have an increased resistance to apoptosis. CD95/Fas is an apoptosis-inducing receptor expressed on many tissues and tumor cells. During tumor progression CD95 is frequently downregulated, and tumor cells lose apoptosis sensitivity. miR-200 microRNAs repress both the EMT-inducing ZEB1 and ZEB2 transcription factors. We now demonstrate that miR-200c sensitizes cells to apoptosis mediated by CD95. We have identified the apoptosis inhibitor FAP-1 as a target for miR-200c. FAP-1 was demonstrated to be responsible for the reduced sensitivity to CD95-mediated apoptosis in cells with inhibited miR-200. The identification of FAP-1 as a miR-200c target provides a molecular mechanism to explain both the downregulation of CD95 expression and the reduction in sensitivity of cells to CD95-mediated apoptosis that is observed in the context of reduced miR-200 expression during tumor progression.
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is implicated in the progression of primary tumours towards metastasis and is likely caused by a pathological activation of transcription factors regulating EMT in embryonic development. To analyse EMT-causing pathways in tumouri-genesis, we identified transcriptional targets of the E-cadherin repressor ZEB1 in invasive human cancer cells. We show that ZEB1 repressed multiple key determinants of epithelial differentiation and cell–cell adhesion, including the cell polarity genes Crumbs3, HUGL2 and Pals1-associated tight junction protein. ZEB1 associated with their endogenous promoters in vivo, and strongly repressed promotor activities in reporter assays. ZEB1 downregulation in undifferentiated cancer cells by RNA interference was sufficient to upregulate expression of these cell polarity genes on the RNA and protein level, to re-establish epithelial features and to impair cell motility in vitro. In human colorectal cancer, ZEB1 expression was limited to the tumour–host interface and was accompanied by loss of intercellular adhesion and tumour cell invasion. In invasive ductal and lobular breast cancer, upregulation of ZEB1 was stringently coupled to cancer cell dedifferentiation. Our data show that ZEB1 represents a key player in pathologic EMTs associated with tumour progression.
epithelial to mesenchymal transition; invasion; transcription; epithelial polarity; cell adhesion
We have previously reported that RAS-MEK (Cancer Res. 2003 May 1;63(9):2088-95) and TGF-β (Cancer Res. 2006 Feb 1;66(3):1648-57) signaling negatively regulate coxsackie virus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) cell-surface expression and adenovirus uptake. In the case of TGF-β, down-regulation of CAR occurred in context of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process associated with transcriptional repression of E-cadherin by, for instance, the E2 box-binding factors Snail, Slug, SIP1 or ZEB1. While EMT is crucial in embryonic development, it has been proposed to contribute to the formation of invasive and metastatic carcinomas by reducing cell-cell contacts and increasing cell migration.
Here, we show that ZEB1 represses CAR expression in both PANC-1 (pancreatic) and MDA-MB-231 (breast) human cancer cells. We demonstrate that ZEB1 physically associates with at least one of two closely spaced and conserved E2 boxes within the minimal CAR promoter here defined as genomic region -291 to -1 relative to the translational start ATG. In agreement with ZEB1's established role as a negative regulator of the epithelial phenotype, silencing its expression in MDA-MB-231 cells induced a partial Mesenchymal-to-Epithelial Transition (MET) characterized by increased levels of E-cadherin and CAR, and decreased expression of fibronectin. Conversely, knockdown of ZEB1 in PANC-1 cells antagonized both the TGF-β-induced down-regulation of E-cadherin and CAR and the reduction of adenovirus uptake. Interestingly, even though ZEB1 clearly contributes to the TGF-β-induced mesenchymal phenotype of PANC-1 cells, TGF-β did not seem to affect ZEB1's protein levels or subcellular localization. These findings suggest that TGF-β may inhibit CAR expression by regulating factor(s) that cooperate with ZEB1 to repress the CAR promoter, rather than by regulating ZEB1 expression levels. In addition to the negative E2 box-mediated regulation the minimal CAR promoter is positively regulated through conserved ETS and CRE elements.
This report provides evidence that inhibition of ZEB1 may improve adenovirus uptake of cancer cells that have undergone EMT and for which ZEB1 is necessary to maintain the mesenchymal phenotype. Targeting of ZEB1 may reverse some aspects of EMT including the down-regulation of CAR.
ZEB1; EMT; MET; TGF-β; adenovirus; cancer
Metastatic cancer is extremely difficult to treat, and the presence of metastases greatly reduces a cancer patient’s likelihood of long-term survival. The ZEB1 transcriptional repressor promotes metastasis through downregulation of microRNAs (miRs) that are strong inducers of epithelial differentiation and inhibitors of stem cell factors. Given that each miR can target multiple genes with diverse functions, we posited that the prometastatic network controlled by ZEB1 extends beyond these processes. We tested this hypothesis using a mouse model of human lung adenocarcinoma metastasis driven by ZEB1, human lung carcinoma cells, and human breast carcinoma cells. Transcriptional profiling studies revealed that ZEB1 controls the expression of numerous oncogenic and tumor-suppressive miRs, including miR-34a. Ectopic expression of miR-34a decreased tumor cell invasion and metastasis, inhibited the formation of promigratory cytoskeletal structures, suppressed activation of the RHO GTPase family, and regulated a gene expression signature enriched in cytoskeletal functions and predictive of outcome in human lung adenocarcinomas. We identified several miR-34a target genes, including Arhgap1, which encodes a RHO GTPase activating protein that was required for tumor cell invasion. These findings demonstrate that ZEB1 drives prometastatic actin cytoskeletal remodeling by downregulating miR-34a expression and provide a compelling rationale to develop miR-34a as a therapeutic agent in lung cancer patients.
Four genome-wide association studies mapped an “obesity” gene to human chromosome 10p11–12. As the zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) transcription factor is encoded by the TCF8 gene located in that region, and as it influences the differentiation of various mesodermal lineages, we hypothesized that ZEB1 might also modulate adiposity. The goal of these studies was to test that hypothesis in mice.
To ascertain whether fat accumulation affects ZEB1 expression, female C57BL/6 mice were fed a regular chow diet (RCD) ad libitum or a 25% calorie-restricted diet from 2.5 to 18.3 months of age. ZEB1 mRNA levels in parametrial fat were six to ten times higher in the obese mice. To determine directly whether ZEB1 affects adiposity, wild type (WT) mice and mice heterozygous for TCF8 (TCF8+/−) were fed an RCD or a high-fat diet (HFD) (60% calories from fat). By two months of age on an HFD and three months on an RCD, TCF8+/− mice were heavier than WT controls, which was attributed by Echo MRI to increased fat mass (at three months on an HFD: 0.517±0.081 total fat/lean mass versus 0.313±0.036; at three months on an RCD: 0.175±0.013 versus 0.124±0.012). No differences were observed in food uptake or physical activity, suggesting that the genotypes differ in some aspect of their metabolic activity. ZEB1 expression also increases during adipogenesis in cell culture.
These results show for the first time that the ZEB1 transcription factor regulates the accumulation of adipose tissue. Furthermore, they corroborate the genome-wide association studies that mapped an “obesity” gene at chromosome 10p11–12.
The ZEB family of transcription factors regulates key factors during embryonic development and cell differentiation but their role in cancer biology has only more recently begun to be recognized. Early evidence showed that ZEB proteins induce an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition linking their expression with increased aggressiveness and metastasis in mice models and a wide range of primary human carcinomas. Reports over the last few years have found that ZEB proteins also play critical roles in the maintenance of cancer cell stemness, control of replicative senescence, tumor angiogenesis, overcoming of oncogenic addiction and resistance to chemotherapy. These expanding roles in tumorigenesis and tumor progression set ZEB proteins as potential diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic targets.
Cancer; cancer stem cells; chemotherapy resistance; E-cadherin; EMT; transcription; tumor invasiveness; ZEB1; ZEB2
We found that among four master epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-inducing genes (ZEB1, SIP1, Snail, and Slug) ZEB1expression was most significantly correlated with the mesenchymal phenotype (high Vimentin and low E-cadherin expression) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and tumors. Furthermore, ZEB1 knockdown with RNA interference in three NSCLC cell lines with high ZEB1 expression suppressed to varying degrees mass culture growth and liquid colony formation but in all cases dramatically suppressed soft agar colony formation. In addition, ZEB1 knockdown induced apoptosis in one of the three lines, indicating that the growth inhibitory effects of ZEB1 knockdown occurs in part through the activation of the apoptosis pathway. These results suggest that inhibiting ZEB1 function may be an attractive target for NSCLC therapeutic development.
Lung cancer; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Anchorage-independent growth; EMT; MicroRNA; RNA interference
Down-regulation of miR-138 (microRNA-138) has been frequently observed in various cancers, including HNSCC (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma). Our previous studies suggest that down-regulation of miR-138 is associated with mesenchymal-like cell morphology and enhanced cell migration and invasion. In the present study, we demonstrated that these miR-138-induced changes were accompanied by marked reduction in E-cad (E-cadherin) expression and enhanced Vim (vimentin) expression, characteristics of EMT (epithelial–mesenchymal transition). On the basis of a combined experimental and bioinformatics analysis, we identified a number of miR-138 target genes that are associated with EMT, including VIM, ZEB2 (zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 2) and EZH2 (enhancer of zeste homologue 2). Direct targeting of miR-138 to specific sequences located in the mRNAs of the VIM, ZEB2 and EZH2 genes was confirmed using luciferase reporter gene assays. Our functional analyses (knock-in and knock-down) demonstrated that miR-138 regulates the EMT via three distinct pathways: (i) direct targeting of VIM mRNA and controlling the expression of VIM at a post-transcriptional level, (ii) targeting the transcriptional repressors (ZEB2) which in turn regulating the transcription activity of the E-cad gene, and (iii) targeting the epigenetic regulator EZH2 which in turn modulates its gene silencing effects on the downstream genes including E-cad. These results, together with our previously observed miR-138 effects on cell migration and invasion through targeting RhoC (Rho-related GTP-binding protein C) and ROCK2 (Rho-associated, coiled-coil-containing protein kinase 2) concurrently, suggest that miR-138 is a multi-functional molecular regulator and plays major roles in EMT and in HNSCC progression.
enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2); epithelial–mesenchymal transition; microRNA-138 (miR-138); squamous cell carcinoma; vimentin (Vim); zinc finger E-box-binding homoeobox 2 (ZEB2)
Plakophilin 3 (PKP3) belongs to the p120ctn family of armadillo-related proteins predominantly functioning in desmosome formation. Here we report that PKP3 is transcriptionally repressed by the E-cadherin repressor ZEB1 in metastatic cancer cells. ZEB1 physically associates with two conserved E-box elements in the PKP3 promoter and partially represses the activity of corresponding human and mouse PKP3 promoter fragments in reporter gene assays. In human tumours ZEB1 is upregulated in invasive cancer cells at the tumour–host interface, which is accompanied by downregulation of PKP3 expression levels. Hence, the transcriptional repression of PKP3 by ZEB1 contributes to ZEB1-mediated disintegration of intercellular adhesion and epithelial to mesenchymal transition.
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition; Invasion; Transcription; Desmosomes; Cell adhesion
This study links cell-cell contact with the proliferation and dedifferentiation of RPE cells.
The Hippo signaling pathway imposes the cell contact inhibition that establishes organ size and tissue topology from Drosophila to mammals. This pathway regulates activity of the Yap and Taz transcription factors, which link epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to cell proliferation. Here, the authors provide evidence that Taz and its coactivator, Tead1, regulate expression of the EMT transcription factor Zeb1 to control RPE cell proliferation and differentiation.
Real-time PCR was used to examine mRNA expression during RPE dedifferentiation in primary cultures of RPE cells and after knockdown of Yap and Taz by lentivirus shRNA. Immunofluorescence was used to follow subcellular localization of proteins in cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was used to detect Taz at the Zeb1 promoter in vivo.
Zeb1 is overexpressed during RPE dedifferentiation, leading to cell proliferation, EMT, and repression of the RPE specification transcription factor gene Mitf. Taz-TEAD1 translocation to the nucleus coincides with loss of cell-cell contact and with onset of Zeb1 expression in the nucleus. shRNA knockdown of Taz prevented the overexpression of Zeb1 and, in turn, prevented proliferation, repression of Mitf and Mitf target genes, and EMT when RPE cells were placed in primary culture. Taz binds to the Zeb1 promoter in vivo, suggesting that it directly induces Zeb1 transcription.
These results provide evidence of a molecular mechanism linking cell-cell contact to cell proliferation and dedifferentiation in RPE cells.
Phosphoglucose isomerase/autocrine motility factor (PGI/AMF) plays important role in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, and is associated with invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. We have previously shown its role in the induction of Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer cells, which led to increased aggressiveness; however, the molecular mechanism by which PGI/AMF regulates EMT is not known. Here we show, for the first time, that PGI/AMF over-expression led to an increase in the DNA-binding activity of NF-κB, which, in turn, led to increased expression of ZEB1/ZEB2. The microRNA-200s (miR-200s; miR-200a, miR-200b and miR-200c) are known to negatively regulate the expression of ZEB1/ZEB2, and we found that the expression of miR-200s was lost in PGI/AMF over-expressing MCF-10A cells as well as in highly invasive MDA-MB-231 cells, which was consistent with increased expression of ZEB1/ZEB2. Moreover, silencing of PGI/AMF expression in MDA-MB-231 cells led to over-expression of miR-200s, which was associated with reversal of EMT phenotype i.e. Mesenchymal-to-Epithelial Transition (MET), and these findings were consistent with alterations in the relative expression of epithelial (E-cadherin) and mesenchymal (vimentin, ZEB1, ZEB2) markers, and decreased aggressiveness as judged by clonogenic, motility and invasion assays. Moreover, either re-expression of miR-200 or silencing of PGI/AMF suppressed pulmonary metastases of MDA-MB-231 cells in vivo, and anti-miR-200 treatment in vivo resulted in increased metastases. Collectively, these results suggest a role of miR-200s in PGI/AMF induced EMT, and thus approaches for up-regulation of miR-200s could be a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of highly invasive breast cancer.
Phosphoglucose Isomerase; Autocrine Motility Factor; microRNA-200s; Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT); Breast Cancer; Invasion
The aim of the present study was to analyze the expression of Zinc finger E-box Binding homeobox 2 (ZEB2) in glioma and to explore the molecular mechanisms of ZEB2 that regulate cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and apoptosis.
Expression of ZEB2 in 90 clinicopathologically characterized glioma patients was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, siRNA targeting ZEB2 was transfected into U251 and U87 glioma cell lines in vitro and proliferation, migration, invasion, and apoptosis were examined separately by MTT assay, Transwell chamber assay, flow cytometry, and western blot.
The expression level of ZEB2 protein was significantly increased in glioma tissues compared to normal brain tissues (P<0.001). In addition, high levels of ZEB2 protein were positively correlated with pathology grade classification (P = 0.024) of glioma patients. Knockdown of ZEB2 by siRNA suppressed cell proliferation, migration and invasion, as well as induced cell apoptosis in glioma cells. Furthermore, ZEB2 downregulation was accompanied by decreased expression of CDK4/6, Cyclin D1, Cyclin E, E2F1, and c-myc, while p15 and p21 were upregulated. Lowered expression of ZEB2 enhanced E-cadherin levels but also inhibited β-Catenin, Vimentin, N-cadherin, and Snail expression. Several apoptosis-related regulators such as Caspase-3, Caspase-6, Caspase-9, and Cleaved-PARP were activated while PARP was inhibited after ZEB2 siRNA treatment.
Overexpression of ZEB2 is an unfavorable factor that may facilitate glioma progression. Knockdown ZEB2 expression by siRNA suppressed cell proliferation, migration, invasion and promoted cell apoptosis in glioma cells.
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is associated with poor prognosis and metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma. We have previously demonstrated an in vivo model of liver cancer in which mesenchymal cells post-EMT demonstrate a high rate of invasive growth and metastasis. Here, we investigate the role of microRNA 200 (miR-200) family members and epigenetic modifications on the maintenance of mesenchymal/metastatic phenotype after EMT. Mesenchymal cells post-EMT demonstrates high levels of E-box repressors Zeb1 and Zeb2 and downregulation of four miR-200 family members (miR-200a, miR-200b, miR-200c and miR-429). In addition, DNA sequencing after bisulfite modification demonstrates that several CpG sites within the E-cadherin promoter are methylated in mesenchymal cells. In mesenchymal cells, forced expression of miR-200b results in a significant increase in E-cadherin and a reduction in cell migration/invasion. Despite these mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) changes in vitro, there is no significant change in metastatic potential after miR-200b upregulation in vivo. After the mesenchymal cells were treated with combination of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor and upregulation of miR-200b, invasive phenotype was significantly reduced and metastatic potential was eliminated. Direct targeting of E-cadherin with short hairpin RNA does not restore metastatic potential after DNMT inhibition and miR-200b re-expression. In addition, restoration of E-cadherin alone was unable to block metastatic potential in primary mesenchymal cells. In conclusion, targeting mesenchymal liver cancer cells with miR-200b and DNMT inhibitor reduces metastatic potential irrespective of E-cadherin expression. Thus, the broader differentiation and MET effects of DNMT inhibition and miR-200b must be considered in terms of rescuing metastatic potential.
hepatocellular carcinoma; epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; microRNA-200 family; E-cadherin; metastasis;; epigenetic modification
Background & Aims
The Notch receptor family regulates cell fate through cell-cell communication. CSL (CBF-1/RBP-jκ, Su(H), Lag-1) drives canonical Notch-mediated gene transcription during cell lineage specification, differentiation and proliferation in the hematopoietic system, the intestine, the pancreas and the skin. However, the functional roles of Notch in esophageal squamous epithelial biology remain unknown.
Normal esophageal keratinocytes were stimulated with calcium chloride to induce terminal differentiation. The squamous epithelia were reconstituted in organotypic three-dimensional culture, a form of human tissue engineering. Notch was inhibited in culture with a γ-secretase inhibitor or dominant negative mastermind-like1 (DNMAML1). The roles of Notch receptors were evaluated by in vitro gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments. Additionally, DNMAML1 was targeted to the mouse esophagus by cytokeratin K14 promoter-driven Cre (K14Cre) recombination of Lox-STOP-Lox-DNMAML1. Notch-regulated gene expression was determined by reporter transfection, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR), Western blotting, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry.
NOTCH1 (N1) was activated at the onset of squamous differentiation in the esophagus. Intracellular domain of N1 (ICN1) directly activated NOTCH3 (N3) transcription, inducing HES5 and early differentiation markers such as involucrin (IVL) and cytokeratin CK13 in a CSL-dependent fashion. N3 enhanced ICN1 activity and was required for squamous differentiation. Loss of Notch signaling in K14Cre;DNMAML1 mice perturbed esophageal squamous differentiation and resulted in N3 loss and basal cell hyperplasia.
Notch signaling is important for esophageal epithelial homeostasis. In particular, the crosstalk of N3 with N1 during differentiation provides novel, mechanistic insights into Notch signaling and squamous epithelial biology.
NOTCH1; NOTCH3; esophageal epithelium; squamous differentiation