Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMT) are essential for organogenesis and triggered in carcinoma progression into an invasive state1. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) cooperates with signalling pathways, such as Ras and Wnt, to induce EMT2-5, but the molecular mechanisms are not clear. Here, we report that SMAD3 and SMAD4 interact and form a complex with SNAIL1, a transcriptional repressor and promoter of EMT6, 7. The SNAIL1-SMAD3/4 complex was targeted to the gene promoters of CAR, a tight junction protein, and E-cadherin during TGF-β-driven EMT in breast epithelial cells. SNAIL1 and SMAD3/4 acted as co-repressors of CAR, occludin, claudin-3 and E-cadherin promoters in transfected cells. Conversely, co-silencing of SNAIL1 and SMAD4 by siRNA inhibited the repression of CAR and occludin during EMT. Moreover, loss of CAR and E-cadherin correlated with nuclear co-expression of SNAIL1 and SMAD3/4 in a mouse model of breast carcinoma and at the invasive fronts of human breast cancer. We propose that activation of a SNAIL1-SMAD3/4 transcriptional complex represents a novel mechanism of gene repression during EMT.
Laminins, a large family of αβγ heterotrimeric proteins mainly found in basement membranes, are strong promoters of adhesion and migration of multiple cell types, such as tumor and immune cells, via several integrin receptors. Among laminin α (LMα) chains, α5 displays the widest tissue distribution in adult life and is synthesized by most cell types. Here, we have generated and characterized five novel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the human LMα5 chain to further study the biological relevance of α5 laminins, such as laminins 511 (α5β1γ1) and 521 (α5β2γ1). As detected by ELISA, immunohistochemistry, immunoprecipitation and Western blotting, each antibody displayed unique properties when compared to mAb 4C7, the prototype LMα5 antibody. Of greatest interest, mAb 8G9, but not any other antibody, strongly inhibited α3β1/α6β1 integrin-mediated adhesion and migration of glioma, melanoma, and carcinoma cells on laminin-511 and, together with mAb 4C7, on laminin-521. Accordingly, mAb 8G9 abolished the interaction of soluble α3β1 integrin with immobilized laminins 511 and 521. Binding of mAb 8G9 to laminin-511 was unaffected by the other mAbs to the LMα5 chain but largely hindered by mAb 4E10 to a LMβ1 chain epitope near the globular domain of laminin-511. Thus, mAb 8G9 defines a novel epitope localized at or near the integrin-binding globular domain of the LMα5 chain, which is essential for cell adhesion and migration, and identifies a potential therapeutic target in malignant and inflammatory diseases.
Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is the most common hereditary vascular dementia caused by mutations in NOTCH3 gene. Pathology is manifested in small- and middle-sized arteries throughout the body, though primarily in cerebral white matter. Hemodynamics is altered in CADASIL and NOTCH3 is suggested to regulate actin filament polymerization and thereby vascular tone. We analyzed NOTCH3 expression and morphology of actin cytoskeleton in genetically genuine cultured human CADASIL vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) (including a cell line homozygous for p.Arg133Cys mutation) derived from different organs, and in control VSMCs with short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-silenced NOTCH3. NOTCH3 protein level was higher in VSMCs derived from adult than newborn arteries in both CADASIL and control VSMCs. CADASIL VSMCs showed altered actin cytoskeleton including increased branching and node formation, and more numerous and smaller adhesion sites than control VSMCs. Alterations in actin cytoskeleton in shRNA-silenced VSMCs were similar as in CADASIL VSMCs. Severity of the alterations in actin filaments corresponded to NOTCH3 expression level being most severe in VSMCs derived from adult cerebral arteries. These observations suggest that hypomorphic NOTCH3 activity causes alterations in actin organization in CADASIL. Furthermore, arteries from different organs have specific characteristics, which modify the effects of the NOTCH3 mutation and which is one explanation for the exceptional susceptibility of cerebral white matter arteries.
actin filament; adhesion site; CADASIL; NOTCH3; shRNA silencing; vascular smooth muscle cell
We have previously shown that laminin-8, a vascular basement membrane component, was over-expressed in human glioblastomas multiforme and their adjacent tissues compared to normal brain. Increased laminin-8 correlated with shorter glioblastoma recurrence time and poor patient survival making it a potential marker for glioblastoma diagnostics and prediction of disease outcome. However, laminin-8 therapeutic potential was unknown because the technology of blocking the expression of multi-chain complex proteins was not yet developed. To inhibit the expression of laminin-8 constituents in glioblastoma in vitro and in vivo, we used Polycefin, a bioconjugate drug delivery system based on slime-mold Physarum polycephalum-derived poly(malic acid). It carries an attached transferrin receptor antibody to target tumor cells and to deliver two conjugated morpholino antisense oligonucleotides against laminin-8 α4 and β1 chains. Polycefin efficiently inhibited the expression of both laminin-8 chains by cultured glioblastoma cells. Intracranial Polycefin treatment of human U87MG glioblastoma-bearing nude rats reduced incorporation of both tumor-derived laminin-8 chains into vascular basement membranes. Polycefin was thus able to simultaneously inhibit the expression of two different chains of a complex protein. The treatment also significantly reduced tumor microvessel density (p < 0.001) and area (p < 0.001) and increased animal survival (p < 0.0004). These data suggest that laminin-8 may be important for glioblastoma angiogenesis. Polycefin, a versatile nanoscale drug delivery system, was suitable for in vivo delivery of two antisense oligonucleotides to brain tumor cells causing a reduction of glioblastoma angiogenesis and an increase of animal survival. This system may hold promise for future clinical applications.
Tumor angiogenesis; Glioma; Laminin-8; Multiple drug targeting; Poly(malic acid)
Epitheliomesenchymal transition (EMT) is the process where cancer cells attain fibroblastic features and are thus able to invade neighboring tissues. Transcriptional factors zeb1, snai1 and twist regulate EMT.
We used immunohistochemistry to investigate the expression of zeb1, twist and snai1 in tumor and stromal compartments by in a large set of breast carcinomas. The results were compared with estrogen and progesterone receptor status, HER2 amplification, grade, histology, TNM status and survival of the patients.
Nuclear expression for twist was seen in the epithelial tumor cell compartment in 3.6% and for snai1 in 3.1% of the cases while zeb1 was not detected at all in these areas. In contrast, the tumor stromal compartment showed nuclear zeb1 and twist expression in 75% and 52.4% of the cases, respectively. Although rare, nuclear expression of twist in the epithelial tumor cell compartment was associated with a poor outcome of the patients (p = 0.054 log rank, p = 0.013, Breslow, p = 0.025 Tarone-Ware). Expression of snai1, or expression of zeb1 or twist in the stromal compartment did not have any prognostic significance. Furthermore, none of these factors associated with the size of the tumors, nor with the presence of axillary or distant metastases. Expression of zeb1 and twist in the stromal compartment was positively associated with a positive estrogen or progesterone receptor status of the tumors. Stromal zeb1 expression was significantly lower in ductal in situ carcinomas than in invasive carcinomas (p = 0.020). Medullary carcinomas (p = 0.017) and mucinous carcinomas (p = 0.009) had a lower stromal expression of zeb1 than ductal carcinomas. Stromal twist expression was also lower in mucinous (p = 0.017) than in ductal carcinomas.
Expression of transcriptional factors zeb1 and twist mainly occur in the stromal compartment of breast carcinomas, possibly representing two populations of cells; EMT transformed neoplastic cells and stromal fibroblastic cells undergoing activation of zeb1 and twist due to growth factors produced by the tumor. However, epithelial expression of twist was associated with a poor prognosis, hinting at its importance in the spread of breast carcinoma.
Asthma leads to structural changes in the airways, including the modification of extracellular matrix proteins such as tenascin-C. The role of tenascin-C is unclear, but it might act as an early initiator of airway wall remodelling, as its expression is increased in the mouse and human airways during allergic inflammation. In this study, we examined whether Th1 or Th2 cells are important regulators of tenascin-C in experimental allergic asthma utilizing mice with impaired Th1 (STAT4-/-) or Th2 (STAT6-/-) immunity.
Balb/c wildtype (WT), STAT4-/- and STAT6-/- mice were sensitized with intraperitoneally injected ovalbumin (OVA) followed by OVA or PBS airway challenge. Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) was measured and samples were collected. Real time PCR and immunohistochemistry were used to study cytokines and differences in the expression of tenascin-C. Tenascin-C expression was measured in human fibroblasts after treatment with TNF-α and IFN-γ in vitro.
OVA-challenged WT mice showed allergic inflammation and AHR in the airways along with increased expression of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4 and tenascin-C in the lungs. OVA-challenged STAT4-/- mice exhibited elevated AHR and pulmonary eosinophilia. The mRNA expression of TNF-α and IFN-γ was low, but the expression of IL-4 was significantly elevated in these mice. OVA-challenged STAT6-/- mice had neither AHR nor pulmonary eosinophilia, but had increased expression of mRNA for TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-4. The expression of tenascin-C in the lungs of OVA-challenged STAT4-/- mice was weaker than in those of OVA-challenged WT and STAT6-/- mice suggesting that TNF-α and IFN-γ may regulate tenascin-C expression in vivo. The stimulation of human fibroblasts with TNF-α and IFN-γ induced the expression of tenascin-C confirming our in vivo findings.
Expression of tenascin-C is significantly attenuated in the airways of STAT4-/- mice, which may be due to the impaired secretion of TNF-α and IFN-γ in these mice.
Tumor-stroma reaction is associated with activation of fibroblasts. Nemosis is a novel type of fibroblast activation. It leads to an increased production of growth factors and proinflammatory and proteolytic proteins, while at the same time cytoskeletal proteins are degraded. Here we used paired normal skin fibroblasts and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) and primary and recurrent oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells to study the nemosis response.
Fibroblast nemosis was analyzed by protein and gene expression and the paracrine regulation with colony formation assay. One of the normal fibroblast strains, FB-43, upregulated COX-2 in nemosis, but FB-74 cells did not. In contrast, CAF-74 spheroids expressed COX-2 but CAF-43 cells did not. Alpha-SMA protein was expressed in both CAF strains and in FB-74 cells, but not in FB-43 fibroblasts. Its mRNA levels were downregulated in nemosis, but the CAFs started to regain the expression. FSP1 mRNA was downregulated in normal fibroblasts and CAF-74 cells, but not in CAF-43 fibroblasts. Serine protease FAP was upregulated in all fibroblasts, more so in nemotic CAFs. VEGF, HGF/SF and FGF7 mRNA levels were upregulated to variable degree in nemosis. CAFs increased the colony formation of primary tumor cell lines UT-SCC-43A and UT-SCC-74A, but normal fibroblasts inhibited the anchorage-independent growth of recurrent UT-SCC-43B and UT-SCC-74B cells.
Nemosis response, as observed by COX-2 and growth factor induction, and expression of CAF markers α-SMA, FSP1 and FAP, varies between fibroblast populations. The expression of CAF markers differs between normal fibroblasts and CAFs in nemosis. These results emphasize the heterogeneity of fibroblasts and the evolving tumor-promoting properties of CAFs.
Transcription factor Snail1 has a central role in induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The aim of the present study was to elucidate the expression of Snail1 protein during epithelial ovarian tumourigenesis and to study the association of Snail1 expression with clinicopathological factors and prognosis.
Epithelial and stromal fibroblast-like fusiform cells of 14 normal ovarian samples, 21 benign, 24 borderline and 74 malignant epithelial ovarian tumours were studied for Snail1 protein using immunohistochemistry.
Nuclei of surface peritoneal cells of normal ovaries (n = 14) were regarded as negative for Snail1. Nuclear expression of Snail1 protein in epithelial ovarian tumours was increased during tumour progression from precursor lesions into carcinomas both in epithelial (p = 0.006) and stromal cells (p = 0.007). Nuclei of benign tumours (n = 21) were negative for Snail1. In borderline tumours (n = 24) occasional positive epithelial cells were found in 2 (8%) samples and in 3 (13%) samples stromal cells were focally positive for Snail1. In carcinomas (n = 74) focal Snail1 staining in epithelial cells was present in 17 (23%) tumours, and in stromal cells in 18 (24%) tumours. Nuclear expression of Snail1 in epithelial or stromal cells was not associated with clinicopathological factors or prognosis.
Nuclear Snail1 expression seems to be related to tumour progression, and expression in borderline tumours indicates a role for Snail1 in early epithelial ovarian tumour development. Snail1 also appears to function more generally in tissue remodelling as positive staining was demonstrated in stromal cells.
Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is required for mesodermal differentiation during development. The zinc-finger transcription factor, Snail1, can trigger EMT and is sufficient to transcriptionally reprogram epithelial cells toward a mesenchymal phenotype during neoplasia and fibrosis. Whether Snail1 also regulates the behavior of terminally differentiated mesenchymal cells remains unexplored. Using a Snai1 conditional knockout model, we now identify Snail1 as a regulator of normal mesenchymal cell function. Snail1 expression in normal fibroblasts can be induced by agonists known to promote proliferation and invasion in vivo. When challenged within a tissue-like, three-dimensional extracellular matrix, Snail1-deficient fibroblasts exhibit global alterations in gene expression, which include defects in membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP)-dependent invasive activity. Snail1-deficient fibroblasts explanted atop the live chick chorioallantoic membrane lack tissue-invasive potential and fail to induce angiogenesis. These findings establish key functions for the EMT regulator Snail1 after terminal differentiation of mesenchymal cells.
Analysis of variants in three genes encoding oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) homologues (OSBPL2, OSBPL9, OSBPL10) in Finnish families with familial low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (N = 426) or familial combined hyperlipidemia (N = 684) revealed suggestive linkage of OSBPL10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with extreme end high triglyceride (TG; >90th percentile) trait. Prompted by this initial finding, we carried out association analysis in a metabolic syndrome subcohort (Genmets) of Health2000 examination survey (N = 2,138), revealing association of multiple OSBPL10 SNPs with high serum TG levels (>95th percentile). To investigate whether OSBPL10 could be the gene underlying the observed linkage and association, we carried out functional experiments in the human hepatoma cell line Huh7. Silencing of OSBPL10 increased the incorporation of [3H]acetate into cholesterol and both [3H]acetate and [3H]oleate into triglycerides and enhanced the accumulation of secreted apolipoprotein B100 in growth medium, suggesting that the encoded protein ORP10 suppresses hepatic lipogenesis and very-low-density lipoprotein production. ORP10 was shown to associate dynamically with microtubules, consistent with its involvement in intracellular transport or organelle positioning. The data introduces OSBPL10 as a gene whose variation may contribute to high triglyceride levels in dyslipidemic Finnish subjects and provides evidence for ORP10 as a regulator of cellular lipid metabolism.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00109-009-0490-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cholesterol; High-density lipoprotein; Microtubule; Oxysterol-binding protein; Single-nucleotide polymorphism; Triglyceride
Over-expression of Snail1 gene transcriptional repressor promotes an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in epithelial tumour cell lines. Expression of Snail1 RNA has been associated to the pathogenesis of a number of malignancies; however, the lack of good monoclonal antibodies against this protein has precluded a definitive analysis of Snail1 protein. In this study, we aimed to determine the expression of this transcriptional factor in colorectal tumours. Using a Snail1 well-characterized monoclonal antibody developed in our laboratories we have analyzed by immunohistochemistry a cohort of 162 human colorectal tumours. Ninety tumours (56%) showed nuclear expression in the tumoral tissue and the adjacent stroma; in 34 (21%), Snail1 was detected just in the stroma, whereas in only 4 the expression of Snail1 was detected in the tumoral tissue and the stroma was negative. No correlation was found between the presence of Snail1 in the tumour and tumour stage; however, a trend (p = 0.054) was detected when the expression of this factor in the stroma was considered. Snail1 immunoreactivity in this compartment was associated with presence of distant metastasis (p = 0.006). Moreover, expression of Snail1 in the tumor stroma correlated with lower specific survival of cancer patients (p = 0.011). Interestingly, this correlation was also detected in stage I and II tumors. Therefore, our results indicate that the presence of nuclear Snail1 immunoreactive cells in the stroma may be an informative indicator of prognosis of colon tumours especially useful in those corresponding to lower stages and identify a new marker suitable to label activated stroma in colon tumours.
Adult human corneal epithelial basement membrane (EBM) and Descemet's membrane (DM) components exhibit heterogeneous distribution. The purpose of the study was to identify changes of these components during postnatal corneal development.
Thirty healthy adult corneas and 10 corneas from 12-day- to 3-year-old children were studied by immunofluorescence with antibodies against BM components.
Type IV collagen composition of infant corneal central EBM over Bowman's layer changed from α1-α2 to α3-α4 chains after 3 years of life; in the adult, α1-α2 chains were retained only in the limbal BM. Laminin α2 and β2 chains were present in the adult limbal BM where epithelial stem cells are located. By 3 years of age, β2 chain appeared in the limbal BM. In all corneas, limbal BM contained laminin γ3 chain. In the infant DM, type IV collagen α1-α6 chains, perlecan, nidogen-1, nidogen-2, and netrin-4 were found on both faces, but they remained only on the endothelial face of the adult DM. The stromal face of the infant but not the adult DM was positive for tenascin-C, fibrillin-1, SPARC, and laminin-332. Type VIII collagen shifted from the endothelial face of infant DM to its stromal face in the adult. Matrilin-4 largely disappeared after the age of 3 years.
The distribution of laminin γ3 chain, nidogen-2, netrin-4, matrilin-2, and matrilin-4 is described in the cornea for the first time. The observed differences between adult and infant corneal BMs may relate to changes in their mechanical strength, corneal cell adhesion and differentiation in the process of postnatal corneal maturation.
The product of the Snail1 gene is a transcriptional repressor required for triggering the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, ectopic expression of Snail1 in epithelial cells promotes resistance to apoptosis. In this study, we demonstrate that this resistance to γ radiation-induced apoptosis caused by Snail1 is associated with the inhibition of PTEN phosphatase. In MDCK cells, mRNA levels of the p53 target gene PTEN are induced after γ radiation; the transfection of Snail1 prevents this up-regulation. Decreased mRNA levels of PTEN were also detected in RWP-1 cells after the ectopic expression of this transcriptional factor. Snail1 represses and associates to the PTEN promoter as detected both by the electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments performed with either endogenous or ectopic Snail1. The binding of Snail1 to the PTEN promoter increases after γ radiation, correlating with the stabilization of Snail1 protein, and prevents the association of p53 to the PTEN promoter. These results stress the critical role of Snail1 in the control of apoptosis and demonstrate the regulation of PTEN phosphatase by this transcriptional repressor.
The product of Snail1 gene is a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin expression and an inductor of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition in several epithelial tumour cell lines. Transcription of Snail1 is induced when epithelial cells are forced to acquire a mesenchymal phenotype. In this work we demonstrate that Snail1 protein limits its own expression: Snail1 binds to an E-box present in its promoter (at −146 with respect to the transcription start) and represses its activity. Therefore, mutation of the E-box increases Snail1 transcription in epithelial and mesenchymal cells. Evidence of binding of ectopic or endogenous Snail1 to its own promoter was obtained by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments. Studies performed expressing different forms of Snail1 under the control of its own promoter demonstrate that disruption of the regulatory loop increases the cellular levels of Snail protein. These results indicate that expression of Snail1 gene can be regulated by its product and evidence the existence of a fine-tuning feed-back mechanism of regulation of Snail1 transcription.
Laminins are a group of proteins largely responsible for the anchorage of cells to basement membranes. We hypothesized that altered Laminin chain production in the bronchial mucosa might explain the phenomenon of epithelial cell shedding in asthma. The aim was to characterize the presence of Laminin chains in the SEBM and epithelium in allergic and non-allergic asthmatics.
Patients and methods
Biopsies were taken from the bronchi of 11 patients with allergic and 9 patients with non-allergic asthma and from 7 controls and stained with antibodies against the Laminin (ln) chains alpha1-alpha5, beta1-beta2 and gamma1-gamma2.
Lns-2,-5 and -10 were the main Laminins of SEBM. The layer of ln-10 was thicker in the two asthmatic groups while an increased thickness of lns-2 and -5 was only seen in allergic asthmatics. The ln gamma2-chain, which is only found in ln 5, was exclusively expressed in epithelial cells in association with epithelial injury and in the columnar epithelium of allergic asthmatics.
The uncoordinated production of chains of ln-5 in allergic asthma could have a bearing on the poor epithelial cell anchorage in these patients.
In developing glomeruli, laminin α5 replaces laminin α1 in the glomerular basement membrane (GBM) at the capillary loop stage, a transition required for glomerulogenesis. To investigate domain-specific functions of laminin α5 during glomerulogenesis, we produced transgenic mice that express a chimeric laminin composed of laminin α5 domains VI through I fused to the human laminin α1 globular (G) domain, designated Mr51. Transgene-derived protein accumulated in many basement membranes, including the developing GBM. When bred onto the Lama5 −/− background, Mr51 supported GBM formation, preventing the breakdown that normally occurs in Lama5 −/− glomeruli. In addition, podocytes exhibited their typical arrangement in a single cell layer epithelium adjacent to the GBM, but convolution of glomerular capillaries did not occur. Instead, capillaries were distended and exhibited a ballooned appearance, a phenotype similar to that observed in the total absence of mesangial cells. However, here the phenotype could be attributed to the lack of mesangial cell adhesion to the GBM, suggesting that the G domain of laminin α5 is essential for this adhesion. Analysis of an additional chimeric transgene allowed us to narrow the region of the α5 G domain essential for mesangial cell adhesion to α5LG3-5. Finally, in vitro studies showed that integrin α3β1 and the Lutheran glycoprotein mediate adhesion of mesangial cells to laminin α5. Our results elucidate a mechanism whereby mesangial cells organize the glomerular capillaries by adhering to the G domain of laminin α5 in the GBM.
mesangium; cell adhesion; kidney glomerulus; integrin α3β1; transgenic mice
Fibroblast-like cells in the synovial lining (type B lining cells), stroma and pannus tissue are targeted by many signals, such as the following: ligands binding to cell surface receptors; lipid soluble, small molecular weight mediators (eg nitric oxide [NO], prostaglandins, carbon monoxide); extracellular matrix (ECM)-cell interactions; and direct cell-cell contacts, including gap junctional intercellular communication. Joints are subjected to cyclic mechanical loading and shear forces. Adherence and mechanical forces affect fibroblasts via the ECM (including the hyaluronan fluid phase matrix) and the pericellular matrix (eg extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer [EMMPRIN]) matrices, thus modulating fibroblast migration, adherence, proliferation, programmed cell death (including anoikis), synthesis or degradation of ECM, and production of various cytokines and other mediators . Aggressive, transformed or transfected mesenchymal cells containing proto-oncogenes can act in the absence of lymphocytes, but whether these cells represent regressed fibroblasts, chondrocytes or bone marrow stem cells is unclear.
fibroblast; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial membrane
Intracellular membrane structures associated with the Semliki Forest virus replication process were studied from freeze-etch replicas. Cleaved membrane structures inside the CPV I type vacuoles lacked the typical membrane particles present on most other fractured membranes. CPV II type vacuoles present in thin sections were obscured in the freeze-etch replicas by the cytoplasmic ground substance.