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      Aquaporin 3 promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in gastric cancer

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          Gastric carcinoma (GC) is a common and lethal malignancy, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is believed to contribute to invasive and metastatic tumor growth. Aquaporin 3 (AQP3) is overexpressed in human GC tissues, while human epidermal growth factor (EGF) and hepatocyte growth factor, which can induce EMT, are able to up-regulate AQP3 expression, subsequently promoting GC cell migration and proliferation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of AQP3 on EMT in human GC.


          AQP3 and EMT-related proteins were detected by immunohistochemistry in human GC specimens and their clinical significance evaluated. AQP3 knockdown was attempted using small interfering RNAs, while EGF was used to up-regulate AQP3 expression. Western blotting, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays and immunofluorescence were used to evaluate changes in expression of AQP3 and EMT-related proteins in the SGC7901 and MGC803 human GC cell lines.


          AQP3 up-expression was associated with EMT-related proteins in human GC specimens, which correlated with poor prognosis for GC. AQP3 modulated GC cell proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro, and induced E-cadherin repression. AQP3 also up-regulated the expression of vimentin and fibronectin in vitro. The PI3K/AKT/SNAIL signaling pathway was likely involved in the induction of EMT by AQP3 in GC.


          AQP3 promotes EMT in human cases of GC, allowing us to understand the mechanisms of AQP3 in GC progression, thus providing a potential strategy for its treatment.

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          Most cited references 16

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          EMT as the ultimate survival mechanism of cancer cells.

          Epithelial cancers make up the vast majority of cancer types and, during the transition from benign adenoma to malignant carcinoma and metastasis, epithelial tumor cells acquire a de-differentiated, migratory and invasive behavior. This process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) goes along with dramatic changes in cellular morphology, the loss and remodeling of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesions, and the gain of migratory and invasive capabilities. EMT itself is a multistage process, involving a high degree of cellular plasticity and a large number of distinct genetic and epigenetic alterations, as fully differentiated epithelial cells convert into poorly differentiated, migratory and invasive mesenchymal cells. In the past years, a plethora of genes have been identified that are critical for EMT and metastasis formation. Notably, the EMT process not only induces increased cancer cell motility and invasiveness but also allows cancer cells to avoid apoptosis, anoikis, oncogene addiction, cellular, senescence and general immune defense. Notably, EMT seems to play a critical role in the generation and maintenance of cancer stem cells, highly consistent with the notion that metastatic cells carry the ability to initiate new tumors. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Aquaporins--new players in cancer biology.

            The aquaporins (AQPs) are small, integral-membrane proteins that selectively transport water across cell plasma membranes. A subset of AQPs, the aquaglyceroporins, also transport glycerol. AQPs are strongly expressed in tumor cells of different origins, particularly aggressive tumors. Recent discoveries of AQP involvement in cell migration and proliferation suggest that AQPs play key roles in tumor biology. AQP1 is ubiquitously expressed in tumor vascular endothelium, and AQP1-null mice show defective tumor angiogenesis resulting from impaired endothelial cell migration. AQP-expressing cancer cells show enhanced migration in vitro and greater local tumor invasion, tumor cell extravasation, and metastases in vivo. AQP-dependent cell migration may involve AQP-facilitated water influx into lamellipodia at the front edge of migrating cells. The aquaglyceroporin AQP3, which is found in normal epidermis and becomes upregulated in basal cell carcinoma, facilitates cell proliferation in different cell types. Remarkably, AQP3-null mice are resistant to skin tumorigenesis by a mechanism that may involve reduced tumor cell glycerol metabolism and ATP generation. Together, the data suggest that AQP expression in tumor cells and tumor vessels facilitates tumor growth and spread, suggesting AQP inhibition as a novel antitumor therapy.
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              Increased migration and metastatic potential of tumor cells expressing aquaporin water channels.

               Jie Hu,  A Verkman (2006)
              Aquaporin (AQP) water channels are expressed in high-grade tumor cells of different tissue origins. Based on the involvement of AQPs in angiogenesis and cell migration, we tested whether AQP expression in tumor cells might enhance their migration and metastatic potential. Transfection of B16F10 and 4T1 tumor cells with AQP1 did not affect their appearance, size, growth, or substrate adherence but increased their plasma membrane osmotic water permeability by 5- to 10-fold. In vitro analysis of cell migration by transwell assay, wound healing and video microscopy showed a 2- to 3-fold accelerated migration of the AQP1-expressing tumor cells compared to control cells. In mice, AQP1 expression increased tumor cell extravasation by >1.5-fold as quantified by counting tumor cells in lung at 6 h after tail vein injection of a mixture of fluorescently tagged AQP1-expressing and control tumor cells. AQP1 expression also increased by 3-fold the number of lung metastases 14 days after tail vein injection of tumor cells, with alveolar wall infiltration seen with AQP1-expressing tumor cells. Our results provide evidence for AQP-facilitated tumor cell migration and spread, suggesting a novel function for AQP expression in high-grade tumors. AQP inhibition may thus reduce the metastatic potential of some tumors.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Clin Cancer Res
                J. Exp. Clin. Cancer Res
                Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research : CR
                BioMed Central
                3 May 2014
                : 33
                : 1
                : 38
                [1 ]Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Department of General Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, 210029 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
                [2 ]Department of Internal Medicine, First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
                [3 ]Department of Pathology, First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
                [4 ]School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
                Copyright © 2014 Chen et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.



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