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      Extracellular gamma-synuclein promotes tumor cell motility by activating β1 integrin-focal adhesion kinase signaling pathway and increasing matrix metalloproteinase-24, -2 protein secretion

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          Increasing evidence reveals a significant correlation between gamma-synuclein (SNCG) level and tumor invasion and metastasis in various human cancers. Our previous investigation showed that SNCG could secrete into extracellular environment and promoted tumor cell motility, but the mechanism is unknown.


          The membrane binding ability of SNCG was characterized by immunohistochemical staining, immunofluorescence staining and fractionation of colorectal cancer (CRC) cell membrane. Association between SNCG and β1 integrin was validated by coimmunoprecipitation and far Western blot. After inhibition of β1 integrin and focal adhesion kinase (FAK), effect of SNCG on cell motility was measured by transwell chamber assays and changes of protein levels were detected by Western blot. Association between SNCG and activated β1 integrin levels in human CRC tissues was determined by Spearman’s rank correlation analysis. Secreted proteins in conditioned medium (CM) were screened by antibody array.


          Extracellular SNCG bound β1 integrin on CRC cell membrane and increased levels of activated β1 integrin and FAK. Correspondingly, SNCG-enhanced cell motility was counteracted by knockdown or inhibition of β1 integrin or FAK. Further study revealed that high SNCG level indicated poor outcome and SNCG levels positively correlated with those of activated β1 integrin and phospho-FAK (Tyr 397) in human CRC tissues. Additionally, extracellular SNCG promoted secretion of fibronectin (FN), vitronectin (VN), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, and MMP-24 from HCT116 cells. Protease activity of MMP-2 in the CM of HCT116 cells was increased by treatment with SNCG, which was abolished by inhibiting β1 integrin.


          Our results highlight the potential role of SNCG in remodeling extracellular microenvironment and inducing β1 integrin-FAK signal pathway of CRC cells.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s13046-018-0783-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 54

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          New functions for the matrix metalloproteinases in cancer progression.

          Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have long been associated with cancer-cell invasion and metastasis. This provided the rationale for clinical trials of MMP inhibitors, unfortunately with disappointing results. We now know, however, that the MMPs have functions other than promotion of invasion, have substrates other than components of the extracellular matrix, and that they function before invasion in the development of cancer. With this knowledge in hand, can we rethink the use of MMP inhibitors in the clinic?
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            How matrix metalloproteinases regulate cell behavior.

            The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) constitute a multigene family of over 25 secreted and cell surface enzymes that process or degrade numerous pericellular substrates. Their targets include other proteinases, proteinase inhibitors, clotting factors, chemotactic molecules, latent growth factors, growth factor-binding proteins, cell surface receptors, cell-cell adhesion molecules, and virtually all structural extracellular matrix proteins. Thus MMPs are able to regulate many biologic processes and are closely regulated themselves. We review recent advances that help to explain how MMPs work, how they are controlled, and how they influence biologic behavior. These advances shed light on how the structure and function of the MMPs are related and on how their transcription, secretion, activation, inhibition, localization, and clearance are controlled. MMPs participate in numerous normal and abnormal processes, and there are new insights into the key substrates and mechanisms responsible for regulating some of these processes in vivo. Our knowledge in the field of MMP biology is rapidly expanding, yet we still do not fully understand how these enzymes regulate most processes of development, homeostasis, and disease.
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              Role of integrins in cell invasion and migration.

              As cancer cells undergo metastasis--invasion and migration of a new tissue--they penetrate and attach to the target tissue's basal matrix. This allows the cancer cell to pull itself forward into the tissue. The attachment is mediated by cell-surface receptors known as integrins, which bind to components of the extracellular matrix. Integrins are crucial for cell invasion and migration, not only for physically tethering cells to the matrix, but also for sending and receiving molecular signals that regulate these processes.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Clin Cancer Res
                J. Exp. Clin. Cancer Res
                Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research : CR
                BioMed Central (London )
                15 June 2018
                15 June 2018
                : 37
                [1 ]Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education/Beijing), Beijing, China
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0027 0586, GRID grid.412474.0, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, , Peking University Cancer Hospital & Institute, ; Beijing, China
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: the National Natural Science Foundation of China
                Award ID: 81673000
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2018

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                activation, motility, mmp-2, focal adhesion kinase, β1 integrin, gamma-synuclein


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