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      Mesothelin promotes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and tumorigenicity of human lung cancer and mesothelioma cells

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          Lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma are two of the most deadly forms of cancer. The prognosis of lung cancer and mesothelioma is extremely poor due to limited treatment modalities and lack of understanding of the disease mechanisms. We have identified mesothelin as a potentially unique therapeutic target that as a specific advantage appears nonessential in most cell types. Mesothelin (MSLN), a plasma membrane differentiation antigen, is expressed at a high level in many human solid tumors, including 70% of lung cancer and nearly all mesotheliomas. However, the role of MSLN in the disease process and underlying mechanisms is largely unknown.


          ShRNA knockdown and overexpression of MSLN were performed in human cancer cell lines and corresponding normal cells, respectively. Tumorigenic and metastatic effects of MSLN were examined by tumor sphere formation, migration, and invasion assays in vitro, as well as xenograft tumor assay in vivo. EMT and CSCs were detected by qPCR array, immunoblotting and flow cytometry.


          MSLN plays a key role in controlling epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stem properties of human lung cancer and mesothelioma cells that control their tumorigenicity and metastatic potential. Firstly, MSLN was found to be highly upregulated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient tissues and in lung carcinoma and mesothelioma cell lines. Secondly, genetic knockdown of MSLN significantly reduced anchorage-independent cell growth, tumor sphere formation, cell adhesion, migration and invasion in vitro, as well as tumor formation and metastasis in vivo. Thirdly, ectopic overexpression of MSLN induced the malignant phenotype of non-cancerous cells, supporting its role as an oncogene. Finally, mechanistic studies revealed that knockdown of MSLN reversed EMT and attenuated stem cell properties, in addition to inhibiting tumor growth and metastasis.


          These results indicate an essential role of MSLN in controlling EMT and stem cell properties of human lung cancer and mesothelioma cells. Since EMT is an important process in tumor progression and metastasis, and MSLN is nonessential in most normal tissue, our findings on MSLN may provide new insights into the disease mechanisms and may aid in the development of novel targeted therapy for lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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          Most cited references 21

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          The cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin.

           G. Berx,  F Linden (2008)
          This review is dedicated to E-cadherin, a calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecule with pivotal roles in epithelial cell behavior, tissue formation, and suppression of cancer. As founder member of the cadherin superfamily, it has been extensively investigated. We summarize the structure and regulation of the E-cadherin gene and transcript. Models for E-cadherin-catenin complexes and cell junctions are presented. The structure of the E-cadherin protein is discussed in view of the diverse functions of this remarkable protein. Homophilic and heterophilic adhesion are compared, including the role of E-cadherin as a receptor for pathogens. The complex post-translational processing of E-cadherin is reviewed, as well as the many signaling activities. The role of E-cadherin in embryonic development and morphogenesis is discussed for several animal models. Finally, we review the multiple mechanisms that disrupt E-cadherin function in cancer: inactivating somatic and germline mutations, epigenetic silencing by DNA methylation and epithelial to mesenchymal transition-inducing transcription factors, and dysregulated protein processing.
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            Transcriptional regulation of cell polarity in EMT and cancer.

            The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial process in tumour progression providing tumour cells with the ability to escape from the primary tumour, to migrate to distant regions and to invade tissues. EMT requires a loss of cell-cell adhesion and apical-basal polarity, as well as the acquisition of a fibroblastoid motile phenotype. Several transcription factors have emerged in recent years that induce EMT, with important implications for tumour progression. However, their effects on cell polarity remain unclear. Here, we have re-examined the data available related to the effect of EMT related transcription factors on epithelial cell plasticity, focusing on their impact on cell polarity. Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms mediated by several inducers of EMT, in particular the ZEB and Snail factors, downregulate the expression and/or functional organization of core polarity complexes. We also summarize data on the expression of cell polarity genes in human tumours and analyse genetic interactions that highlight the existence of complex regulatory networks converging on the regulation of cell polarity by EMT inducers in human breast carcinomas. These recent observations provide new insights into the relationship between alterations in cell polarity components and EMT in cancer, opening new avenues for their potential use as therapeutic targets to prevent tumour progression.
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              Is Open Access

              High aldehyde dehydrogenase activity identifies cancer stem cells in human cervical cancer

              High aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity characterizes a subpopulation of cells with cancer stem cell (CSC) properties in several malignancies. To clarify whether ALDH can be used as a marker of cervical cancer stem cells (CCSCs), ALDHhigh and ALDHlow cells were sorted from 4 cervical cancer cell lines and 5 primary tumor xenografts and examined for CSC characteristics. Here, we demonstrate that cervical cancer cells with high ALDH activity fulfill the functional criteria for CSCs: (1) ALDHhigh cells, unlike ALDHlow cells, are highly tumorigenic in vivo; (2) ALDHhigh cells can give rise to both ALDHhigh and ALDHlow cells in vitro and in vivo, thereby establishing a cellular hierarchy; and (3) ALDHhigh cells have enhanced self-renewal and differentiation potentials. Additionally, ALDHhigh cervical cancer cells are more resistant to cisplatin treatment than ALDHlow cells. Finally, expression of the stem cell self-renewal-associated transcription factors OCT4, NANOG, KLF4 and BMI1 is elevated in ALDHhigh cervical cancer cells. Taken together, our data indicated that high ALDH activity may represent both a functional marker for CCSCs and a target for novel cervical cancer therapies.

                Author and article information

                304-293-1476 , yrojan@hsc.wvu.edu
                Mol Cancer
                Mol. Cancer
                Molecular Cancer
                BioMed Central (London )
                14 March 2017
                14 March 2017
                : 16
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2156 6140, GRID grid.268154.c, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, , West Virginia University, ; 1 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, WV 26506 USA
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0423 0663, GRID grid.416809.2, , HELD, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, ; 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505 USA
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2156 6140, GRID grid.268154.c, Department of Biochemistry, , West Virginia University, ; Morgantown, USA
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2156 6140, GRID grid.268154.c, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, , West Virginia University, ; 395 Evansdale Drive, Morgantown, WV 26506 USA
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2156 6140, GRID grid.268154.c, , WVU Cancer Institute, ; 1 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, WV 26506 USA
                © The Author(s). 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), 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 ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000002, National Institutes of Health;
                Award ID: R01-ES022968, R01-EB018857
                Award ID: R15GM122953
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000001, National Science Foundation;
                Award ID: CBET-1434503
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000002, National Institutes of Health;
                Award ID: GM103488
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                © The Author(s) 2017


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