Gene Summary

Gene:AMFR; autocrine motility factor receptor
Aliases: GP78, RNF45
Summary:This locus encodes a glycosylated transmembrane receptor. Its ligand, autocrine motility factor, is a tumor motility-stimulating protein secreted by tumor cells. The encoded receptor is also a member of the E3 ubiquitin ligase family of proteins. It catalyzes ubiquitination and endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation of specific proteins. [provided by RefSeq, Feb 2012]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase AMFR
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AMFR (cancer-related)

Lucarelli G, Rutigliano M, Sanguedolce F, et al.
Increased Expression of the Autocrine Motility Factor is Associated With Poor Prognosis in Patients With Clear Cell-Renal Cell Carcinoma.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2015; 94(46):e2117 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI), also known as phosphoglucose isomerase, was initially identified as the second glycolytic enzyme that catalyzes the interconversion of glucose-6-phosphate to fructose-6-phosphate. Later studies demonstrated that GPI was the same as the autocrine motility factor (AMF), and that it mediates its biological effects through the interaction with its surface receptor (AMFR/gp78). In this study, we assessed the role of GPI/AMF as a prognostic factor for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) cancer-specific (CSS) and progression-free survival (PFS). In addition, we evaluated the expression and localization of GPI/AMF and AMFR, using tissue microarray-based immunohistochemistry (TMA-IHC), indirect immunofluorescence (IF), and confocal microscopy analysis.Primary renal tumor and nonneoplastic tissues were collected from 180 patients who underwent nephrectomy for ccRCC. TMA-IHC and IF staining showed an increased signal for both GPI and AMFR in cancer cells, and their colocalization on plasma membrane. Kaplan-Meier curves showed significant differences in CSS and PFS among groups of patients with high versus low GPI expression. In particular, patients with high tissue levels of GPI had a 5-year survival rate of 58.8%, as compared to 92.1% for subjects with low levels (P < 0.0001). Similar findings were observed for PFS (56.8% vs 93.3% at 5 years). At multivariate analysis, GPI was an independent adverse prognostic factor for CSS (HR = 1.26; P = 0.001), and PFS (HR = 1.16; P = 0.01).In conclusion, our data suggest that GPI could serve as a marker of ccRCC aggressiveness and a prognostic factor for CSS and PFS.

Carl C, Flindt A, Hartmann J, et al.
Ionizing radiation induces a motile phenotype in human carcinoma cells in vitro through hyperactivation of the TGF-beta signaling pathway.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016; 73(2):427-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Radiotherapy, a major treatment modality against cancer, can lead to secondary malignancies but it is uncertain as to whether tumor cells that survive ionizing radiation (IR) treatment undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and eventually become invasive or metastatic. Here, we have tested the hypothesis that the application of IR (10 MeV photon beams, 2-20 Gy) to lung and pancreatic carcinoma cells induces a migratory/invasive phenotype in these cells by hyperactivation of TGF-β and/or activin signaling. In accordance with this assumption, IR induced gene expression patterns and migratory responses consistent with an EMT phenotype. Moreover, in A549 cells, IR triggered the synthesis and secretion of both TGF-β1 and activin A as well as activation of intracellular TGF-β/activin signaling as evidenced by Smad phosphorylation and transcriptional activation of a TGF-β-responsive reporter gene. These responses were sensitive to SB431542, an inhibitor of type I receptors for TGF-β and activin. Likewise, specific antibody-mediated neutralization of soluble TGF-β, or dominant-negative inhibition of the TGF-β receptors, but not the activin type I receptor, alleviated IR-induced cell migration. Moreover, the TGF-β-specific approaches also blocked IR-dependent TGF-β1 secretion, Smad phosphorylation, and reporter gene activity, collectively indicating that autocrine production of TGF-β(s) and subsequent activation of TGF-β rather than activin signaling drives these changes. IR strongly sensitized cells to further increase their migration in response to recombinant TGF-β1 and this was accompanied by upregulation of TGF-β receptor expression. Our data raise the possibility that hyperactivation of TGF-β signaling during radiotherapy contributes to EMT-associated changes like metastasis, cancer stem cell formation and chemoresistance of tumor cells.

Li Y, Che Q, Bian Y, et al.
Autocrine motility factor promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in endometrial cancer via MAPK signaling pathway.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 47(3):1017-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autocrine motility factor (AMF) as a cytokine and a growth factor, is known to regulate tumor cell growth and motility in the progress of various human malignant tumors, however, its role in endometrial cancer (EC) has not been fully studied. In the present study, using immunohistochemistry, we found that AMF was highly expressed in EC tissues compared with normal endometrial tissues and tissue micrioarray technology showed positive correlation between AMF expression and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) related markers E-cadherin, vimentin and Snail. Next, we detected that silencing of AMF by stable transfection with shRNA induced mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition phenotype in Ishikawa and HEC-1B cells by qRT-PCR, western blotting and immunofluorescence. Gene expression profile revealed that AMF silencing resulted in altered expression of EMT related molecular mediators including Snail and transforming growth factor β receptor 1, and involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Additionally, we found that EMT related markers were downregulated with pretreatment of the MAPK-specific inhibitor U0126 by western blotting. The present study is the first to support a role for AMF mediating EMT in endometrial cancer through MAPK signaling. Therefore, AMF may provide a potential prognostic and therapeutic target in preventing EC progression.

Wang Y, Ma L, Wang C, et al.
Autocrine motility factor receptor promotes the proliferation of human acute monocytic leukemia THP-1 cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2015; 36(3):627-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aberrant activation of autocrine motility factor receptor (AMFR) has been implicated in several types of human cancer. The present study aimed to elucidate the effect of AMFR on the regulation of proliferation in an acute monocytic leukemia cell line, THP‑1. THP‑1 cells were transfected with AMFR‑targeted small interfering (si)RNA and a plasmid encoding a truncated AMFR, AMFR‑C, (pcDNA3.1‑AMFR‑C). The mRNA and protein levels of AMFR and the downstream targets, rho‑associated, coiled‑coil containing protein kinase 2 (ROCK2), cyclin D1, and B‑cell lymphoma (Bcl)‑2, were measured using reverse transcription‑quantitatibe polymerase chain reaction and immunoblot analyses. The effects on cell cycle and apoptosis were investigated using flow cytometry. The present study successfully established the knockdown of AMFR and expression of AMFR‑C in the THP‑1 cells. Downregulation of AMFR induced cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase, and increased apoptosis of the THP‑1 cells (all P<0.05). The AMFR siRNA increased the percentage of early apoptotic cells between 3.88±1.43 and 19.58±4.29% (P<0.05). The expression levels of ROCK2, cyclin D1 and Bcl‑2 were reduced by the downregulation of AMFR and enhanced by overexpression of AMFR‑C. In conclusion, AMFR appears to be crucial for the proliferation of the THP‑1 acute monocytic leukemia cell line. Therefore, AMFR may represent a potential target for the treatment of acute monocytic leukemia.

Chang YW, Tseng CF, Wang MY, et al.
Deacetylation of HSPA5 by HDAC6 leads to GP78-mediated HSPA5 ubiquitination at K447 and suppresses metastasis of breast cancer.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(12):1517-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heat-shock protein 5 (HSPA5) is a marker for poor prognosis in breast cancer patients and has an important role in cancer progression, including promoting drug resistance and metastasis. In this study, we identify that the specific lysine residue 447 (K447) of HSPA5 could be modified with polyubiquitin for subsequent degradation through the ubiquitin proteasomal system, leading to the suppression of cell migration and invasion of breast cancer. We further found that GP78, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, interacted with the C-terminal region of HSPA5 and mediated HSPA5 ubiquitination and degradation. Knock down of GP78 significantly increased the expression of HSPA5 and enhanced migration/invasive ability of breast cancer cells. Knock down of histone deacetylase-6 (HDAC6) increased the acetylation of HSPA5 at lysine residues 353 (K353) and reduced GP78-mediated ubiquitination of HSPA5 at K447 and then increased cell migration/invasion. In addition, we demonstrate that E3 ubiquitin ligase GP78 preferentially binds to deacetylated HSPA5. Notably, the expression levels of GP78 inversely correlated with HSPA5 levels in breast cancer patients. Patients with low GP78 expression significantly correlated with invasiveness of breast cancer, advanced tumor stages and poor clinical outcome. Taken together, our results provide new mechanistic insights into the understanding that deacetylation of HSPA5 by HDAC6 facilitates GP78-mediated HSPA5 ubiquitination and suggest that post-translational regulation of HSPA5 protein is critical for HSPA5-mediated metastatic properties of breast cancer.

Yamada K, Maishi N, Akiyama K, et al.
CXCL12-CXCR7 axis is important for tumor endothelial cell angiogenic property.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 137(12):2825-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
We reported that tumor endothelial cells (TECs) differ from normal endothelial cells (NECs) in many aspects, such as gene expression profiles. Although CXCR7 is reportedly highly expressed in blood vessels of several tumors, its function in TECs is still unknown. To investigate this role, we isolated TECs from mouse tumor A375SM xenografts, and compared them with NECs from normal mouse dermis. After confirming CXCR7 upregulation in TECs, we analyzed its function using CXCR7 siRNA and CXCR7 inhibitor; CCX771. CXCR7 siRNA and CCX771 inhibited migration, tube formation and resistance to serum starvation in TECs but not in NECs. ERK1/2 phosphorylation was inhibited by CXCR7 knockdown in TECs. These results suggest that CXCR7 promotes angiogenesis in TECs via ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Using ELISA, we also detected CXCL12, a ligand of CXCR7, in conditioned medium from TECs, but not from NECs. CXCL12 neutralizing antibody significantly inhibited TEC random motility. VEGF stimulation upregulated CXCR7 expression in NECs, implying that VEGF mediates CXCR7 expression in endothelial cells. A CXCR7 inhibitor, CCX771 also inhibited tumor growth, lung metastasis and tumor angiogenesis in vivo. Taken together, the CXCL12-CXCR7 autocrine loop affects TEC proangiogenic properties, and could be the basis for an antiangiogenic therapy that specifically targets tumor blood vessels rather than normal vessels.

Chang YW, Chen HA, Tseng CF, et al.
De-acetylation and degradation of HSPA5 is critical for E1A metastasis suppression in breast cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(21):10558-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Elevated expression of heat shock protein 5 (HSPA5) promotes drug resistance and metastasis and is a marker of poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. Adenovirus type 5 E1A gene therapy has demonstrated antitumor efficacy but the mechanisms of metastasis-inhibition are unclear. Here, we report that E1A interacts with p300 histone acetyltransferase (HAT) and blocks p300-mediated HSPA5 acetylation at K353, which in turn promotes HSPA5 ubiquitination by GP78 (E3 ubiquitin ligase) and subsequent proteasome-mediated degradation. Our findings point out the Ying-Yang regulation of two different post-translational modifications (ubiquitination and acetylation) of HSPA5 in tumor metastasis.

Song M, Yin Y, Zhang J, et al.
MiR-139-5p inhibits migration and invasion of colorectal cancer by downregulating AMFR and NOTCH1.
Protein Cell. 2014; 5(11):851-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) that exert function by posttranscriptional suppression have recently brought insight in our understanding of the role of non-protein-coding RNAs in carcinogenesis and metastasis. In this study, we described the function and molecular mechanism of miR-139-5p in colorectal cancer (CRC) and its potential clinical application in CRC. We found that miR-139-5p was significantly downregulated in 73.8% CRC samples compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues (NCTs), and decreased miR-139-5p was associated with poor prognosis. Functional analyses demonstrated that ectopic expression of miR-139-5p suppressed CRC cell migration and invasion in vitro and metastasis in vivo. Mechanistic investigations revealed that miR-139-5p suppress CRC cell invasion and metastasis by targeting AMFR and NOTCH1. Knockdown of the two genes phenocopied the inhibitory effect of miR-139-5p on CRC metastasis. Furthermore, the protein levels of the two genes were upregulated in CRC samples compared with NCTs, and inversely correlated with the miR-139-5p expression. Increased NOTCH1 protein expression was correlated with poor prognosis of CRC patients. Together, our data indicate that miR-139-5p is a potential tumor suppressor and prognostic factor for CRC, and targeting miR-139-5p may repress the metastasis of CRC and improve survival.

Bayo J, Fiore E, Aquino JB, et al.
Human umbilical cord perivascular cells exhibited enhanced migration capacity towards hepatocellular carcinoma in comparison with bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells: a role for autocrine motility factor receptor.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:837420 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Unfortunately, the incidence and mortality associated with HCC are increasing. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed and the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) as carrier of therapeutic genes is emerging as a promising option. Different sources of MSCs are being studied for cell therapy and bone marrow-derived cells are the most extensively explored; however, birth associated-tissues represent a very promising source. The aim of this work was to compare the in vitro and in vivo migration capacity between bone marrow MSCs (BM-MSCs) and human umbilical cord perivascular cells (HUCPVCs) towards HCC. We observed that HUCPVCs presented higher in vitro and in vivo migration towards factors released by HCC. The expression of autocrine motility factor (AMF) receptor, genes related with the availability of the receptor on the cell surface (caveolin-1 and -2) and metalloproteinase 3, induced by the receptor activation and important for cell migration, was increased in HUCPVCs. The chemotactic response towards recombinant AMF was increased in HUCPVCs compared to BM-MSCs, and its inhibition in the conditioned medium from HCC induced higher decrease in HUCPVC migration than in BM-MSC. Our results indicate that HUCPVCs could be a useful cellular source to deliver therapeutic genes to HCC.

Liu H, Yang Y, Xiao J, et al.
Semaphorin 4D expression is associated with a poor clinical outcome in cervical cancer patients.
Microvasc Res. 2014; 93:1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lymphangiogenesis is thought to be essential for cancer progression, making it an important target in cancer therapy. Lymphangiogenic factors (VEGF-C and VEGF-D) are upregulated in various tumors/cancers, and play an important role in lymphangiogenesis and lymph node metastasis. Similarly, semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) is a potent inducer of angiogenesis, and its overexpression is associated with tumor progression and poor prognosis in a variety of malignancies. However, little is known regarding the functional relationship between Sema4D and VEGF-C/VEGF-D and in the mediation of lymphangiogenesis and lymph node metastasis and clinical outcome. The current study aimed to evaluate the effect of Sema4D expression on outcome in patients with cervical cancer, and to explore the molecular mechanism of Sema4D in tumor progression. We evaluated Sema4D expression, density of lymphatic vessels, and invasion of lymphatic vessels with immunohistochemical methods in 232 human cervical cancers with long-term follow-up. Sema4D expression was correlated with patho-clinical parameters and patients' outcome. A cervical cancer cell line was used to investigate the contribution of sema4D to tumor progression by studying the role of Sema4D in VEGF-C/-D and cell migration using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. We observed that Sema4D expression was higher in metastatic cervical cancer than in nonmetastatic cervical cancer (P<0.001). CD34-positive or D2-40-positive lymphatic vessel density was significantly increased in cases with lymph node metastasis compared with those without lymph node metastasis. The increased Sema4D expression was associated with VEGF-C/-D, the presence of lymphatic invasion, the occurrence of lymph node metastasis, and FIGO stage. We also observed a novel association between Sema4D upregulation and poor prognosis in cervical cancer. In vitro, the Sema4D inhibitory antibody and Sema4D-shRNA suppressed VEGF-C and VEGF-D in the human cervical carcinoma cell lines HeLa, Siha, and Caski cells. Invasiveness assay demonstrated that Sema4D could augment the invasive potential of the tumor cells in the cervical cancer lines and induction of cellular invasiveness by Sema4D stimulation could be inhibited by knockdown of plexinB1 by siRNA. Further mechanistic investigations of tumor cell invasiveness showed that Sema4D could induce activation of GTPase Ras homolog gene family, member A (RhoA), MAPK and AKT. In addition, plexinB1 knockdown by siRNA could suppress the Sema4D signal transmitted to MAPK and Akt. Taken together, these results suggest that Sema4D autocrine within tumor cells contributes to enhanced invasion and tumor progression through increased motility of cervical cancer and VEGF-C/-D-mediated lymphangiogenesis. Sema4D might be useful as a molecular marker of poor prognosis in cervical cancer.

Samamé Pérez-Vargas JC, Biondani P, Maggi C, et al.
Role of cMET in the development and progression of colorectal cancer.
Int J Mol Sci. 2013; 14(9):18056-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) is a member of a distinct subfamily of heterodimeric receptor tyrosine kinase receptors that specifically binds the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Binding to HGF leads to receptor dimerization/multimerization and phosphorylation, resulting in its catalytic activation. MET activation drives the malignant progression of several tumor types, including colorectal cancer (CRC), by promoting signaling cascades that mainly result in alterations of cell motility, survival, and proliferation. MET is aberrantly activated in many human cancers through various mechanisms, including point mutations, gene amplification, transcriptional up-regulation, or ligand autocrine loops. MET promotes cell scattering, invasion, and protection from apoptosis, thereby acting as an adjuvant pro-metastatic gene for many tumor types. In CRC, MET expression confers more aggressiveness and worse clinical prognosis. With all of this rationale, inhibitors that target the HGF/MET axis with different types of response have been developed. HGF and MET are new promising targets to understand the pathogenesis of CRC and for the development of new, targeted therapies.

Shang Y, Zhu Z
gp78 is specifically expressed in human prostate cancer rather than normal prostate tissue.
J Mol Histol. 2013; 44(6):653-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Elevated expression of gp78 has been observed in many types of cancers including lung, stomach, colon, liver and skin cancer. But there is no report about its expression in prostate cancers. In this study, using immunohistochemical staining we found gp78 is highly expressed in prostate cancers especially early stage tumors, but not in normal prostate tissues. gp78 protein expression is heterogeneous. In some tumors it was expressed in basal cells, while others in stromal cells. For gp78 is a ubiquitin E3 ligase, we then investigated the expression pattern of its cognate E2 (ubiquitin conjugating enzyme)-Ube2g2 in prostate cancers. We found it was expressed in both cancerous and normal tissues of prostate without significant differences in expression level. And unlike gp78, it exhibited a homogeneous expression pattern in different cell types in prostate tissues. In conclusion, our results indicate that gp78 is expressed specifically in human prostate cancer rather than normal prostate tissues, it could be a putative biomarker for prostate cancer diagnosis.

Ortlepp C, Steudel C, Heiderich C, et al.
Autotaxin is expressed in FLT3-ITD positive acute myeloid leukemia and hematopoietic stem cells and promotes cell migration and proliferation.
Exp Hematol. 2013; 41(5):444-461.e4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autotaxin (ATX) has been reported to act as a motility and growth factor in a variety of cancer cells. The ATX protein acts as a secreted lysophospholipase D by converting lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), which signals via G-protein-coupled receptors and has important functions in cell migration and proliferation. This study demonstrates that ATX expression is specifically upregulated and functionally active in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) harboring an internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutation of the FLT3 receptor gene. Moreover, ATX expression was also found in normal human CD34+ progenitor cells and selected myeloid and lymphoid subpopulations. Enforced expression of mutant FLT3-ITD by retroviral vector transduction increased ATX mRNA in selected cell lines, whereas inhibition of FLT3-ITD signaling by sublethal doses of PKC412 or SU5614 led to a significant downregulation of ATX mRNA and protein levels. In the presence of LPC, ATX expression significantly increased proliferation. LPA induced proliferation, regardless of ATX expression, and induced chemotaxis in all tested human leukemic cell lines and human CD34(+) progenitors. LPC increased chemotaxis only in cells with high expression of endogenous ATX by at least 80%, demonstrating the autocrine action of ATX. Inhibition of ATX using a small molecule inhibitor selectively induced killing of ATX-expressing cell lines and reduced motility in these cells. Our data suggest that the production of bioactive LPA through ATX is involved in controlling proliferation and migration during hematopoiesis and that deregulation of ATX contributes to the pathogenesis of AML.

Tsujikawa T, Yaguchi T, Ohmura G, et al.
Autocrine and paracrine loops between cancer cells and macrophages promote lymph node metastasis via CCR4/CCL22 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Int J Cancer. 2013; 132(12):2755-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lymph node metastasis is a poor prognostic factor for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, its molecular mechanism has not yet been fully understood. In our study, we investigated the expression of CCR4 and its ligand CCL22 in the HNSCC tumor microenvironment and found that the CCR4/CCL22 axis was involved in lymph node metastasis of HNSCC. CCR4 was expressed in 20 of 31 (64.5%) human tongue cancer tissues, and its expression was significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis (p < 0.01) and lymphatic invasion (p < 0.05). CCR4 was expressed in three of five human HNSCC cell lines tested. CCR4(+) HNSCC cells, but not CCR4(-) cells, showed enhanced migration toward CCL22, indicating that functional CCR4 was expressed in HNSCC cell lines. CCL22 was also expressed in cancer cells (48.4% of tongue cancer tissues) or CD206(+) M2-like macrophages infiltrated in tumors and draining lymph nodes. CCL22 produced by cancer cells or CD206(high) M2-like macrophages increased the cell motility of CCR4(+) HNSCC cells in vitro in an autocrine or paracrine manner. In the mouse SCCVII in vivo model, CCR4(+) cancer cells, but not CCR4(-) cells, metastasized to lymph nodes which contained CCL22 producing M2-like macrophages. These results demonstrate that lymph node metastasis of CCR4(+) HNSCC is promoted by CCL22 in an autocrine or M2-like macrophage-dependent paracrine manner. Therefore, the CCR4/CCL22 axis may be an attractive target for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for patients with HNSCC.

Choudhury Y, Tay FC, Lam DH, et al.
Attenuated adenosine-to-inosine editing of microRNA-376a* promotes invasiveness of glioblastoma cells.
J Clin Invest. 2012; 122(11):4059-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In the human brain, microRNAs (miRNAs) from the microRNA-376 (miR-376) cluster undergo programmed "seed" sequence modifications by adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) editing. Emerging evidence suggests a link between impaired A-to-I editing and cancer, particularly in high-grade gliomas. We hypothesized that disruption of A-to-I editing alters expression of genes regulating glioma tumor phenotypes. By sequencing the miR-376 cluster, we show that the overall miRNA editing frequencies were reduced in human gliomas. Specifically in high-grade gliomas, miR-376a* accumulated entirely in an unedited form. Clinically, a significant correlation was found between accumulation of unedited miR-376a* and the extent of invasive tumor spread as measured by magnetic resonance imaging of patient brains. Using both in vitro and orthotopic xenograft mouse models, we demonstrated that the unedited miR-376a* promoted glioma cell migration and invasion, while the edited miR-376a* suppressed these features. The effects of the unedited miR-376a* were mediated by its sequence-dependent ability to target RAP2A and concomitant inability to target AMFR. Thus, the tumor-dependent introduction of a single base difference in the miR-376a* sequence dramatically alters the selection of its target genes and redirects its function from inhibiting to promoting glioma cell invasion. These findings uncover a new mechanism of miRNA deregulation and identify unedited miR-376a* as a potential therapeutic target in glioblastoma cells.

Majumder M, Tutunea-Fatan E, Xin X, et al.
Co-expression of α9β1 integrin and VEGF-D confers lymphatic metastatic ability to a human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-468LN.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(4):e35094 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Lymphatic metastasis is a common occurrence in human breast cancer, mechanisms remaining poorly understood. MDA-MB-468LN (468LN), a variant of the MDA-MB-468GFP (468GFP) human breast cancer cell line, produces extensive lymphatic metastasis in nude mice. 468LN cells differentially express α9β1 integrin, a receptor for lymphangiogenic factors VEGF-C/-D. We explored whether (1) differential production of VEGF-C/-D by 468LN cells provides an autocrine stimulus for cellular motility by interacting with α9β1 and a paracrine stimulus for lymphangiogenesis in vitro as measured with capillary-like tube formation by human lymphatic endothelial cells (HMVEC-dLy); (2) differential expression of α9 also promotes cellular motility/invasiveness by interacting with macrophage derived factors; (3) stable knock-down of VEGF-D or α9 in 468LN cells abrogates lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis in vivo in nude mice.
RESULTS: A comparison of expression of cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 (a VEGF-C/-D inducer), VEGF-C/-D and their receptors revealed little COX-2 expression by either cells. However, 468LN cells showed differential VEGF-D and α9β1 expression, VEGF-D secretion, proliferative, migratory/invasive capacities, latter functions being stimulated further with VEGF-D. The requirement of α9β1 for native and VEGF-D-stimulated proliferation, migration and Erk activation was demonstrated by treating with α9β1 blocking antibody or knock-down of α9. An autocrine role of VEGF-D in migration was shown by its impairment by silencing VEGF-D and restoration with VEGF-D. 468LN cells and their soluble products stimulated tube formation, migration/invasiveness of HMVEC-dLy cell in a VEGF-D dependent manner as indicated by the loss of stimulation by silencing VEGF-D in 468LN cells. Furthermore, 468LN cells showed α9-dependent stimulation of migration/invasiveness by macrophage products. Finally, capacity for intra-tumoral lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis in nude mice was completely abrogated by stable knock-down of either VEGF-D or α9 in 468LN cells.
CONCLUSION: Differential capacity for VEGF-D production and α9β1 integrin expression by 468LN cells jointly contributed to their lymphatic metastatic phenotype.

Schulz P, Fischer C, Detjen KM, et al.
Angiopoietin-2 drives lymphatic metastasis of pancreatic cancer.
FASEB J. 2011; 25(10):3325-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lymphatic metastasis constitutes a critical route of disease dissemination, which limits the prognosis of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). As lymphangiogenesis has been implicated in stimulation of lymphatic metastasis by vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) and VEGF-D, we studied the effect of the angioregulatory growth factor angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) on PDAC progression. Ang-2 was found to be expressed in transformed cells of human PDAC specimens, with corresponding Tie-2 receptors present on blood and lymphatic endothelium. In vitro in PDAC cells, Ang-2 was subject to autocrine/paracrine TGF-β stimulation (2-fold induction, P=0.0106) acting on the -61- to +476-bp element of the human Ang-2 promoter. In turn, Ang-2 regulated the expression of genes involved in cell motility and tumor suppression. Orthotopic PDAC xenografts with forced expression of Ang-2, but not Ang-1, displayed increased blood and lymphatic vessel density, and an enhanced rate of lymphatic metastasis (6.7- to 9.1-fold, P<0.01), which was prevented by sequestration of Ang-2 via coexpression of soluble Tie-2. Notably, elevated circulating Ang-2 in patients with PDAC correlated with the extent of lymphatic metastasis. Furthermore, median survival was reduced from 28.4 to 7.7 mo in patients with circulating Ang-2 ≥ 75th percentile (P=0.0005). These findings indicate that Ang-2 participates in the control of lymphatic metastasis, constitutes a noninvasive prognostic biomarker, and may provide an accessible therapeutic target in PDAC.

Peer CJ, Sissung TM, Figg WD
CHIP and gp78-mediated ubiquitination of CYP3A4: Implications for the pharmacology of anticancer agents.
Cancer Biol Ther. 2011; 11(6):549-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The autocrine motility factor receptor or glycoprotein-78 (gp78) and C-terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein (CHIP) are E3-ligases required for ubiquitination of cytochrome P450s of the 3A subfamily (CYP3A) in endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). The CYP isozyme 3A4 (CYP3A4) is responsible for the metabolism of the majority of xenobiotics including anticancer agents. Much variability in clinical response to chemotherapy is observed and it has been suggested that variability in CYP3A4 expression could be a factor. The study reviewed in this journal club comments on the importance of further characterizing gp78 and CHIP as relevant proteins in ERAD of CYP3A4. This study demonstrated how both gp78 and CHIP play direct roles in reducing CYP3A4 protein content as well as CYP3A4 ubiquitination. Interestingly, when gp78 and CHIP were knocked down by siRNAs directed towards each protein, the stabilized CYP3A4 remained functional. This has implications for drug-drug interactions for agents metabolized by CYP3A4, which can influence drug exposure levels. This is relevant because most anticancer agents have very narrow therapeutic windows, thus even slight changes in CYP3A4 levels could alter the exposure of that drug and result in either insufficient efficacy or toxicity. Future studies must explore genetic variability in the ERAD pathway and identify new factors that influence CYP3A ERAD in order to better characterize how CYP3A variability affects anticancer drug pharmacology.

Wei P, Milbauer LC, Enenstein J, et al.
Differential endothelial cell gene expression by African Americans versus Caucasian Americans: a possible contribution to health disparity in vascular disease and cancer.
BMC Med. 2011; 9:2 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Health disparities and the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease continue to be perplexing worldwide health challenges. This study addresses the possibility that genetic differences affecting the biology of the vascular endothelium could be a factor contributing to the increased burden of cardiovascular disease and cancer among African Americans (AA) compared to Caucasian Americans (CA).
METHODS: From self-identified, healthy, 20 to 29-year-old AA (n = 21) and CA (n = 17), we established cultures of blood outgrowth endothelial cells (BOEC) and applied microarray profiling. BOEC have never been exposed to in vivo influences, and their gene expression reflects culture conditions (meticulously controlled) and donor genetics. Significance Analysis of Microarray identified differential expression of single genes. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis examined expression of pre-determined gene sets that survey nine biological systems relevant to endothelial biology.
RESULTS: At the highly stringent threshold of False Discovery Rate (FDR) = 0, 31 single genes were differentially expressed in AA. PSPH exhibited the greatest fold-change (AA > CA), but this was entirely accounted for by a homolog (PSPHL) hidden within the PSPH probe set. Among other significantly different genes were: for AA > CA, SOS1, AMFR, FGFR3; and for AA < CA, ARVCF, BIN3, EIF4B. Many more (221 transcripts for 204 genes) were differentially expressed at the less stringent threshold of FDR <.05. Using the biological systems approach, we identified shear response biology as being significantly different for AA versus CA, showing an apparent tonic increase of expression (AA > CA) for 46/157 genes within that system.
CONCLUSIONS: Many of the genes implicated here have substantial roles in endothelial biology. Shear stress response, a critical regulator of endothelial function and vascular homeostasis, may be different between AA and CA. These results potentially have direct implications for the role of endothelial cells in vascular disease (hypertension, stroke) and cancer (via angiogenesis). Also, they are consistent with our over-arching hypothesis that genetic influences stemming from ancestral continent-of-origin could impact upon endothelial cell biology and thereby contribute to disparity of vascular-related disease burden among AA. The method used here could be productively employed to bridge the gap between information from structural genomics (for example, disease association) and cell function and pathophysiology.

Grund S, Olsson B, Jernås M, et al.
The autocrine motility factor receptor is overexpressed on the surface of B cells in Binet C chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Med Oncol. 2011; 28(4):1542-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a heterogeneous disease with a clinical spectrum reaching from discrete lymphocytosis to extensive enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen and liver, and bone marrow failure. The aim of this study was to identify genes that differentiate between patients with disease stage A vs. C according to Binet in order to better understand the disease. To achieve this, we performed DNA microarray analysis on B cells from CLL patients with stage A and C according to Binet and matched controls. Between CLL patients and controls, there were 1,528 differentially expressed genes and 360 genes were differentially expressed between Binet A and C patients. Due to the sheer number of regulated genes, we focused on the autocrine motility factor receptor (AMFR). AMFR has not previously been investigated in hematological disorders, but high expression of AMFR correlates with a more advanced stage and invasive potential in several human tumors. AMFR mRNA expression was higher in Binet A compared with Binet C patients (P=0.0053) and healthy controls (P=0.0051). Total AMFR protein was higher in Binet A patients compared to Binet C as analyzed by intracellular flow cytometry. However, AMFR exist both in the ER involved in protein degradation and on the cell surface involved in metastasis and cell motility. Cell surface AMFR was increased in Binet C compared with Binet A+B (P=0.016). In conclusion, the mRNA levels reflect the total amount of AMFR, whereas cell surface expression is associated with progression in CLL.

Joshi B, Li L, Nabi IR
A role for KAI1 in promotion of cell proliferation and mammary gland hyperplasia by the gp78 ubiquitin ligase.
J Biol Chem. 2010; 285(12):8830-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Expression of gp78, an E3 ubiquitin ligase in endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation, is associated with tumor malignancy. To study gp78 overexpression in mammary gland development and tumorigenicity, we generated murine mammary tumor virus (MMTV) long terminal repeat-driven gp78 transgenic mice. Embryos carrying the gp78 transgene cassette were implanted in FVB surrogate mothers, and two founders with high copy integration showed elevated gp78 expression at both transcript and protein levels at the virgin stage and at 12 days gestation. Transgenic mammary glands showed increased ductal branching, dense alveolar lobule formation, and secondary terminal end bud development. Bromodeoxyuridine staining showed increased proliferation in hyperplastic ductal regions at the virgin stage and at 12 days gestation compared with wild type mice. Reduced expression of the metastasis suppressor KAI1, a gp78 endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation substrate, demonstrates that gp78 ubiquitin ligase activity is increased in MMTV-gp78 mammary gland. Similarly, metastatic MDA-435 cells exhibit increased gp78 expression, decreased KAI1 expression, and elevated proliferation compared with nonmetastatic MCF7 cells whose proliferation was enhanced upon knockdown of KAI1. Importantly, stable gp78 knockdown HEK293 cells showed increased KAI1 expression and reduced proliferation that was rescued upon KAI1 knockdown, demonstrating that gp78 regulation of cell proliferation is mediated by KAI1. Mammary tumorigenesis was not observed in repeatedly pregnant MMTV-long terminal repeat-gp78 transgenic mice over a period of 18 months post-birth. Elevated gp78 ubiquitin ligase activity is therefore not sufficient for mammary tumorigenesis. However, the hyperplastic phenotype observed in mammary glands of MMTV-gp78 transgenic mice identifies a novel role for gp78 expression in enhancing mammary epithelial cell proliferation and nontumorigenic ductal outgrowth.

Navab R, Liu J, Seiden-Long I, et al.
Co-overexpression of Met and hepatocyte growth factor promotes systemic metastasis in NCI-H460 non-small cell lung carcinoma cells.
Neoplasia. 2009; 11(12):1292-300 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Complete resection of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is potentially curative, yet approximately 50% of patients are at risk for developing metastatic recurrence. Met, the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a receptor tyrosine kinase with demonstrated roles in regulating cellular proliferation, motility, morphogenesis, and apoptosis. Met receptor and its ligand, HGF, are commonly overexpressed in NSCLC, and their overexpression has been associated with poor prognosis, which could potentially involve a paracrine and/or autocrine activation loop. However, there is as yet no direct evidence that HGF-Met signaling directly promotes metastasis in NSCLC cells. Using retroviral transduction, we overexpressed the human c-met and hgf complementary DNA, alone or in combination in the NCI-H460 human large cell carcinoma cell line. The HGF/Met co-overexpressing (H460-HGF/Met) cells demonstrated enhanced tumorigenicity in xenograft SCID mice. When these cells are implanted orthotopically into the lungs of nude rats, only the H460-HGF/Met cells showed higher spontaneous metastases to distant organs including bone, brain, and kidney. These results provide evidence that autocrine overactivation of the Met- HGF loop enhances systemic metastases in NSCLC. Targeted interference of this loop may potentially be an effective adjuvant therapy to improve survival of early-stage NSCLC patients.

Lee Y, Kim SJ, Park HD, et al.
PAUF functions in the metastasis of human pancreatic cancer cells and upregulates CXCR4 expression.
Oncogene. 2010; 29(1):56-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer is characterized by early metastatic spread, but the process of tumor cell dissemination is largely unknown. In this study we show that the soluble protein pancreatic adenocarcinoma upregulated factor (PAUF) has an important role in the metastasis and progression of the disease. Variations in the level of PAUF, either by overexpression or knockdown, resulted in altered migration, invasion and proliferation capacity of pancreatic cancer cells. Moreover, depletion of PAUF in metastatic cells dramatically abrogated the spread of the cells to distant organs in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model. PAUF elicited the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and AKT intracellular signaling cascades and consequently their downstream transcription factors in an autocrine manner. Genome-wide expression analysis revealed that C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) expression was induced by PAUF overexpression but was repressed by PAUF knockdown. The PAUF-mediated increase in cancer cell motility was attenuated by the CXCR4 inhibitor, AMD3100, or by anti-CXCR4 antibody. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis of pancreatic tumor tissues clearly showed a significant positive correlation between PAUF and CXCR4 expression. Collectively, these findings indicate that PAUF enhances the metastatic potential of pancreatic cancer cells, at least in part, by upregulating CXCR4 expression.

Seim I, Amorim L, Walpole C, et al.
Ghrelin gene-related peptides: multifunctional endocrine / autocrine modulators in health and disease.
Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2010; 37(1):125-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
1. Ghrelin is a multifunctional peptide hormone that affects various processes, including growth hormone and insulin release, appetite regulation, gut motility, metabolism and cancer cell proliferation. Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and in other normal and pathological cell types. It may act as an endocrine or autocrine/paracrine factor. 2. The present article reviews recent findings in the study of ghrelin and its receptor that suggest that the ghrelin gene locus may give rise to a number of functional molecules (peptides and RNA transcripts) in addition to ghrelin. 3. The ghrelin gene encodes a precursor protein, preproghrelin, from which ghrelin and other potentially active peptides are derived by alternative mRNA splicing and/or proteolytic processing. The metabolic role of the peptide obestatin, derived from the preproghrelin C-terminal region, is contentious. However, obestatin has direct effects on cell proliferation. 4. The regulation of ghrelin expression and the mechanisms through which the peptide products arise are unclear. We have recently re-examined the organization of the ghrelin gene and identified several novel exons and transcripts. One transcript, which lacks the ghrelin-coding region of preproghrelin, contains the coding sequence of obestatin. 5. Furthermore, we have identified an overlapping gene on the antisense strand of ghrelin, namely GHRLOS, which generates transcripts that may function as non-coding regulatory RNAs or code for novel, short bioactive peptides. 6. The identification of these novel ghrelin-gene related transcripts and peptides raises critical questions regarding their physiological function and their potential role in obesity, diabetes and cancer.

Matsuda Y, Schlange T, Oakeley EJ, et al.
WNT signaling enhances breast cancer cell motility and blockade of the WNT pathway by sFRP1 suppresses MDA-MB-231 xenograft growth.
Breast Cancer Res. 2009; 11(3):R32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: In breast cancer, deregulation of the WNT signaling pathway occurs by autocrine mechanisms. WNT ligands and Frizzled receptors are coexpressed in primary breast tumors and cancer cell lines. Moreover, many breast tumors show hypermethylation of the secreted Frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP1) promoter region, causing low expression of this WNT antagonist. We have previously shown that the WNT pathway influences proliferation of breast cancer cell lines via activation of canonical signaling and epidermal growth factor receptor transactivation, and that interference with WNT signaling reduces proliferation. Here we examine the role of WNT signaling in breast tumor cell migration and on xenograft outgrowth.
METHODS: The breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 was used to study WNT signaling. We examined the effects of activating or blocking the WNT pathway on cell motility by treatment with WNT ligands or by ectopic sFPR1 expression, respectively. The ability of sFRP1-expressing MDA-MB-231 cells to grow as xenografts was also tested. Microarray analyses were carried out to identify targets with roles in MDA-MB-231/sFRP1 tumor growth inhibition.
RESULTS: We show that WNT stimulates the migratory ability of MDA-MB-231 cells. Furthermore, ectopic expression of sFRP1 in MDA-MB-231 cells blocks canonical WNT signaling and decreases their migratory potential. Moreover, the ability of MDA-MB-231/sFRP1-expressing cells to grow as xenografts in mammary glands and to form lung metastases is dramatically impaired. Microarray analyses led to the identification of two genes, CCND1 and CDKN1A, whose expression level is selectively altered in vivo in sFRP1-expressing tumors. The encoded proteins cyclin D1 and p21Cip1 were downregulated and upregulated, respectively, in sFRP1-expressing tumors, suggesting that they are downstream mediators of WNT signaling.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the WNT pathway influences multiple biological properties of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. WNT stimulates tumor cell motility; conversely sFRP1-mediated WNT pathway blockade reduces motility. Moreover, ectopic sFRP1 expression in MDA-MB-231 cells has a strong negative impact on tumor outgrowth and blocked lung metastases. These results suggest that interference with WNT signaling using sFRP1 to block the ligand- receptor interaction may be a valid therapeutic approach in breast cancer.

Ma PC, Tretiakova MS, MacKinnon AC, et al.
Expression and mutational analysis of MET in human solid cancers.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2008; 47(12):1025-37 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MET receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) regulate a variety of cellular functions, many of which can be dysregulated in human cancers. Activated MET signaling can lead to cell motility and scattering, angiogenesis, proliferation, branching morphogenesis, invasion, and eventual metastasis. We performed systematic analysis of the expression of the MET receptor and its ligand HGF in tumor tissue microarrays (TMA) from human solid cancers. Standard immunohistochemistry (IHC) and a computerized automated scoring system were used. DNA sequencing for MET mutations in both nonkinase and kinase domains was also performed. MET was differentially overexpressed in human solid cancers. The ligand HGF was widely expressed in both tumors, primarily intratumoral, and nonmalignant tissues. The MET/HGF likely is functional and may be activated in autocrine fashion in vivo. MET and stem cell factor (SCF) were found to be positively stained in the bronchioalevolar junctions of lung tumors. A number of novel mutations of MET were identified, particularly in the extracellular semaphorin domain and the juxtamembrane domain. MET-HGF pathway can be assayed in TMAs and is often overexpressed in a wide variety of human solid cancers. MET can be activated through overexpression, mutation, or autocrine signaling in malignant cells. Mutations in the nonkinase regions of MET might play an important role in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. MET would be an important therapeutic antitumor target to be inhibited, and in lung cancer, MET may represent a cancer early progenitor cell marker.

Nussbaum T, Samarin J, Ehemann V, et al.
Autocrine insulin-like growth factor-II stimulation of tumor cell migration is a progression step in human hepatocarcinogenesis.
Hepatology. 2008; 48(1):146-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The protumorigenic insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II is highly expressed in a significant fraction of human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). However, a functional dissection that clarifies the contribution of IGF-II-binding receptors in tumor progression and a respective molecular characterization of IGF-II signaling has not been performed. Therefore, expression of IGF-II and its receptors IGF-receptor type I (IGF-IR) and insulin receptor (IR) was efficiently blocked using small interfering RNA (siRNA) in HCC cells. Despite functional IR-signaling, oncogenic IGF-II effects such as tumor cell viability, proliferation, and anti-apoptosis were solely transmitted by IGF-IR. Although IGF-II signaling was previously not described in the context of HCC cell migration, the IGF-II-dependent expression profile displayed a high percentage of genes involved in cell motility and adhesion. Indeed, IGF-II overexpression promoted HCC cell migration, especially in synergy with hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). The therapeutic relevance of IGF-II/IGF-IR signaling was tested in vitro and in a murine xenograft transplantation model using the IGF-IR inhibitor picropodophyllin (PPP). IGF-IR inhibition by small molecule treatment efficiently reduced IGF-II-dependent signaling and all protumorigenic properties of the IGF-II/IGF-IR pathway.
CONCLUSION: In human HCC cells, IGF-IR but not IR is involved in oncogenic IGF-II signaling. Autocrine stimulation of IGF-II induces HCC motility by integration of paracrine signals for full malignant competence. Thus, activation of IGF-II/IGF-IR signaling is likely a progression switch selected by function that promotes tumor cell dissemination and aggressive tumor behavior.

Chiu CG, St-Pierre P, Nabi IR, Wiseman SM
Autocrine motility factor receptor: a clinical review.
Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2008; 8(2):207-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
The ability to target and alter the metastatic activity of cancer cells is a key avenue for cancer therapeutics. While local tumor control is often achieved through surgical resection, patient morbidity and mortality is dependent upon the control of regional and distant spread of disease. Autocrine motility factor receptor (AMFR) is an internalizing cell surface receptor that also exhibits ubiquitin E3 ligase activity in the endoplasmic reticulum. Stimulation of AMFR by its ligand (autocrine motility factor/phosphoglucose isomerase) alters cellular adhesion, proliferation, motility, and apoptosis. Increased AMFR expression has been reported in numerous human cancer types. Review of these studies suggests that AMFR upregulation is significantly correlated with more advanced tumor stage and decreased survival for cancer of the lung, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver and skin. AMFR has also served as an independent predictor of poor disease prognosis in these tumor types. Significant associations between AMFR expression and other clinicopathologic parameters implicated in disease progression have also been reported. Further characterization of AMFR in human cancer and the development of an understanding of the molecular regulation of this protein is critical for its future role as a target for anticancer agents.

Tsai YC, Mendoza A, Mariano JM, et al.
The ubiquitin ligase gp78 promotes sarcoma metastasis by targeting KAI1 for degradation.
Nat Med. 2007; 13(12):1504-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metastasis is the primary cause of mortality from cancer, but the mechanisms leading to metastasis are poorly understood. In particular, relatively little is known about metastasis in cancers of mesenchymal origins, which are known as sarcomas. Approximately ten proteins have been characterized as 'metastasis suppressors', but how these proteins function and are regulated is, in general, not well understood. Gp78 (also known as AMFR or RNF45) is a RING finger E3 ubiquitin ligase that is integral to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and involved in ER-associated degradation (ERAD) of diverse substrates. Here we report that expression of gp78 has a causal role in the metastasis of an aggressive human sarcoma and that this prometastatic activity requires the E3 activity of gp78. Further, gp78 associates with and targets the transmembrane metastasis suppressor, KAI1 (also known as CD82), for degradation. Suppression of gp78 increases KAI1 abundance and reduces the metastatic potential of tumor cells, an effect that is largely blocked by concomitant suppression of KAI1. An inverse relationship between these proteins was confirmed in a human sarcoma tissue microarray. Whereas most previous efforts have focused on genetic mechanisms for the loss of metastasis suppressor genes, our results provide new evidence for post-translational downregulation of a metastasis suppressor by its ubiquitin ligase, resulting in abrogation of its metastasis-suppressing effects.

Hoelzinger DB, Nakada M, Demuth T, et al.
Autotaxin: a secreted autocrine/paracrine factor that promotes glioma invasion.
J Neurooncol. 2008; 86(3):297-309 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is inherently invasive, and it is from the invasive cell population that the tumor recurs. The GBM invasion transcriptome reveals over-expression of various autocrine factors that could act as motility drivers, such as autotaxin (ATX). Some of these factors could also have paracrine roles, modulating the behavior of cells in the peri-tumoral brain parenchyma. ATX generates lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), which signals through LPA receptors expressed by GBM as well as in astrocytes, oligodendrocytes (ODC) and microglia; their activation manifest cell specific effects. ATX stimulates invasion of GBM cells in vitro and ex vivo invasion assays. ATX activity enhances GBM adhesion in cells expressing the LPA1 receptor, as well as stimulating rac activation. GBM secreted ATX can also have paracrine effects: ATX activity results in reduced ODC adhesion. ODC monolayer invasion showed that U87 and U251 GBM cells expressing ATX invaded through an ODC monolayer significantly more than cells depleted of ATX or cells expressing inactive ATX, suggesting that GBM cells secreting ATX find ODCs less of a barrier than cells that do not express ATX. Secreted factors that drive GBM invasion can have autocrine and paracrine roles; one stimulates GBM motility and the other results in ODC dis-adhesion.

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