TWIST2

Gene Summary

Gene:TWIST2; twist family bHLH transcription factor 2
Aliases: FFDD3, DERMO1, SETLSS, bHLHa39
Location:2q37.3
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a basic helix-loop-helix type transcription factor and shares similarity with Twist. This protein may inhibit osteoblast maturation and maintain cells in a preosteoblast phenotype during osteoblast development. This gene may be upregulated in certain cancers. Mutations in this gene cause focal facial dermal dysplasia 3, Setleis type. Two transcript variants encoding the same protein have been found. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2014]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:twist-related protein 2
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 25 June, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (22)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 25 June 2015 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.

  • Repressor Proteins
  • ras Proteins
  • Cell Aging
  • Transfection
  • Chromosome 2
  • MicroRNAs
  • Cell Line
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Fibroblasts
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Cadherins
  • Western Blotting
  • Transcription
  • Transcription Factors
  • beta Catenin
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • p53 Protein
  • Cell Movement
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Tumor Markers
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Cell Transdifferentiation
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Taiwan
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Young Adult
  • Up-Regulation
  • DNA Methylation
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Down-Regulation
  • Promoter Regions
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Apoptosis
  • Mesoderm
  • Cervical Cancer
Tag cloud generated 25 June, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

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: TWIST2 (cancer-related)

Chengxiao Z, Ze Y
Biological function and molecular mechanism of Twist2.
Yi Chuan. 2015; 37(1):17-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Twist2, one of the basic helix-loop-helix protein (bHLH) family members, is responsible for the transcriptional regulation in mesenchymal cell lineages during its development. Twist2 functions as a molecular switch to activate or repress target genes by direct or indirect mechanisms. Twist2 can directly bind with conserved E-box on DNA sequence, to recruit co-activators or repressors, and interfere with the activation or inhibition function through protein-protein interactions with E-protein modulators. Nonsense mutations of Twist2 cause Setleis syndrome. Early research on Twist2 focused on osteogenesis, and then expression differences were found in a wide variety of tumors. Further studies showed that Twist2 plays an important role in cancer epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Regulation function of Twist2 is controlled by temporal and spatial expression, phosphorylation, dimerization and cell positioning adjustment. The involvement of Twist2 in a broad spectrum of regulatory pathways highlights the importance of understanding its role in normal development, homeostasis and disease. In this review, we summarize the role of Twist2 in osteogenesis differentiation, tumor formation and EMT, and its molecular mechanism. It is helpful to have a thorough understanding of the biological functions of Twist2, and facilitate the transformation and application in diagnosis, development and therapy.

Al-Khalaf HH, Aboussekhra A
MicroRNA-141 and microRNA-146b-5p inhibit the prometastatic mesenchymal characteristics through the RNA-binding protein AUF1 targeting the transcription factor ZEB1 and the protein kinase AKT.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(45):31433-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
miR-141 and miR-146b-5p are two important tumor suppressor microRNAs, which control several cancer-related genes and processes. In the present report, we have shown that these microRNAs bind specific sites at the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of the mRNA-binding protein AUF1, leading to its down-regulation. This inverse correlation between the levels of these microRNAs and AUF1 has been identified in various osteosarcoma cell lines. Additionally, we present clear evidence that AUF1 promotes mesenchymal features in osteosarcoma cells and that miR-141 and miR-146b-5p suppress this prometastatic process through AUF1 repression. Indeed, both microRNAs suppressed the invasion/migration and proliferation abilities of osteosarcoma cells through inhibiting the AKT protein kinase in an AUF1-dependent manner. We have also shown that AUF1 binds to and stabilizes the mRNA of the AKT activator phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1 (PDK1). Furthermore, miR-141 and miR-146b-5p positively regulate the epithelial markers (E-cadherin and Epcam) and repress the mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin, Vimentin, Twist2, and ZEB1). These effects were mediated via the repression of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal inducer ZEB1 through targeting AUF1, which binds the 3'-UTR of the ZEB1 mRNA and reduces its turnover. These results indicate that at least some tumor suppressor functions of miR-141 and miR-146b-5p are mediated through the repression of the oncogenic potentials of AUF1. Therefore, these 3'-UTR-directed post-transcriptional gene expression regulators constitute promising new targets for diagnostic and/or therapeutic interventions.

Wang T, Li Y, Wang W, et al.
Twist2, the key Twist isoform related to prognosis, promotes invasion of cervical cancer by inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition and blocking senescence.
Hum Pathol. 2014; 45(9):1839-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
In response to tumor development, cells initially undergo invasion and metastasis followed by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT, a process by which cells acquire motility) and overriding senescence (an endogenous defense mechanism against tumor progression). Oncogenic activation of Twist1 and Twist2 is essential for EMT and senescence; however, little is known about the specific contributions of Twist1 versus Twist2 to prognosis, metastasis, and the mechanism underlying cervical carcinoma. Here, we investigated the similarities and differences between Twist1 and Twist2 in assessing prognosis and promoting invasion and metastasis of cervical carcinoma as well as their roles in the underlying molecular mechanisms. By monitoring the survival of 144 clinical cervical cancer patients, we demonstrated that Twist2 shows more effective predictive performance compared with Twist1 and is more closely correlated with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage and lymph node metastasis. Compared with Twist1, Twist2 more strongly promotes invasivity and motility by inducing EMT and overriding senescence. Differences between Twist1 and Twist2 in regulating senescence and the cell cycle might be due to their individual roles in regulating the cyclin D1/cyclin dependent kinase 4 (Cdk4) pathway. Overall, our data indicate that Twist2 is the key Twist isoform coupling aberrant signals from EMT to senescence and is an important candidate biomarker for cervical cancer prognosis.

Gautrey HE, van Otterdijk SD, Cordell HJ, et al.
DNA methylation abnormalities at gene promoters are extensive and variable in the elderly and phenocopy cancer cells.
FASEB J. 2014; 28(7):3261-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal patterns of DNA methylation are one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. The process of aging has also been associated with similar, albeit less dramatic, changes in methylation patterns, leading to the hypothesis that age-related changes in DNA methylation may partially underlie the increased risk of cancer in the elderly. Here we studied 377 participants aged 85 yr from the Newcastle 85+ Study to investigate the extent of, and interindividual variation in, age-related changes in DNA methylation at specific CpG islands. Using highly quantitative pyrosequencing analysis, we found extensive and highly variable methylation of promoter-associated CpG islands with levels ranging from 4% to 35%, even at known tumor suppressor genes such as TWIST2. Furthermore, the interindividual differences in methylation seen across this elderly population phenocopies multiple features of the altered methylation patterns seen in cancer cells. Both aging- and cancer-related methylation can occur at similar sets of genes, both result in the formation of densely methylated, and likely transcriptionally repressed, alleles, and both exhibit coordinate methylation across multiple loci. In addition, high methylation levels were associated with subsequent diagnosis of leukemia or lymphoma during a 3-yr follow-up period (P=0.00008). These data suggest that the accumulation of age-related changes in promoter-associated CpG islands may contribute to the increased cancer risk seen during aging.-Gautrey, H. E., van Otterdijk, S. D., Cordell, H. J., Newcastle 85+ study core team, Mathers, J. C., Strathdee, G. DNA methylation abnormalities at gene promoters are extensive and variable in the elderly and phenocopy cancer cells.

Mao Y, Xu J, Li Z, et al.
The role of nuclear β-catenin accumulation in the Twist2-induced ovarian cancer EMT.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e78200 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Twist2 has been shown to promote human tumor invasion as in breast cancer and cervical cancer. However, whether Twist2 promotes human ovarian cancer progression remains to be elucidated. Here, we investigate the role of Twist2 in ovarian cancer invasion and metastasis as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms.
METHODS: Twist2 expression was detected by Immunohistochemistry (IHC) on tissue microarray of human ovarian cancers with scoring procedure according to the staining intensity and pattern. Twist2 gene was stably introduced into SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells to examine the changes of cellular morphology, motility, invasiveness, and EMT molecular markers.
RESULTS: Twist2 expression is significantly increased in ovarian cancers along with the FIGO disease stage, indicating that Twist2 may be associated with ovarian cancer metastasis. Overexpression of Twist2 induced the EMT phenotype including downregulation of E-cadherin, and upregulation of N-cadherin and β-catenin in human ovarian cancer cells, suggesting that Twist2 might promote β-catenin release from the E-cadherin/β-catenin complex through inhibition of E-cadherin. Thus, β-catenin degradation was inhibited due to inhibition of APC, and the Wnt/β-catenin pathway was then activated by nuclear β-catenin accumulation, which may activate transcription of downstream target genes to promote tumor invasion and metastasis. Collectively, these data indicated that β-catenin is involved in Twist2-induced EMT in ovarian cancer.
CONCLUSION: Our data indicates that upregulation of Twist2 is correlated with the FIGO stage in human ovarian cancers. In this report, we demonstrated that nuclear β-catenin is accumulated in Twist2-induced EMT cells to facilitates ovarian cancer invasion and metastasis.

Long L, Huang G, Zhu H, et al.
Down-regulation of miR-138 promotes colorectal cancer metastasis via directly targeting TWIST2.
J Transl Med. 2013; 11:275 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most common digestive system malignancy. The molecular events involved in the development and progression of CRC remain unclear. Recently, more and more evidences have showed that deregulated miRNAs participate in colorectal carcinogenesis.
METHODS: The expression levels of miR-138 were first examined in CRC cell lines and tumor tissues by real-time PCR. The in vitro and in vivo functional effects of miR-138 were examined further. Luciferase reporter assays were conducted to confirm the targeting associations. Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank tests were performed to estimate the overall survival and disease free survival rate.
RESULTS: miR-138 was found to be down-regulated in human colorectal cancer tissues and cell lines. Ectopic expression of miR-138 resulted in a dramatic inhibition of CRC migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo. Twist basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor 2 gene (TWIST2) was identified as one of the functional target. Restoration of miR-138 resulted in a dramatic reduction of the expression of TWIST2 at both mRNA and protein levels by directly targeting its 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR). Up-regulation of TWIST2 was detected in CRC tumors compared with adjacent normal tissues (P < 0.001) and is inversely correlated with miR-138 expression. We also identified that down-regulation of miR-138 was associated with lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, and always predicted poor prognosis.
CONCLUSION: These data highlight a pivotal role for miR-138 in the regulation of CRC metastasis by targeting TWIST2, and suggest a potential application of miR-138 in prognosis prediction and CRC treatment.

Teng Y, Li X
The roles of HLH transcription factors in epithelial mesenchymal transition and multiple molecular mechanisms.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2014; 31(3):367-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is presently recognized as an important event and the initiating stage for tumor invasion and metastasis. Several EMT inducers have been identified, among which the big family of helix-loop-helix (HLH) transcription factors are rising as a novel and promising family of proteins in EMT mediation, such as Twist1, Twist2, E47, and HIFs, etc. Due to the variety and complexities of HLH members, the pathways and mechanisms they employ to promote EMT are also complex and characteristic. In this review, we will discuss the roles of various HLH proteins in the regulation and sustenance of the EMT and multiple cellular mechanisms, attempting to provide a novel and broadened view towards the link between HLH proteins and EMT.

Díaz-Martín J, Díaz-López A, Moreno-Bueno G, et al.
A core microRNA signature associated with inducers of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
J Pathol. 2014; 232(3):319-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although it is becoming clear that certain miRNAs fulfil a fundamental role in the regulation of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a comprehensive study of the miRNAs associated with this process has yet to be performed. Here, we profiled the signature of miRNA expression in an in vitro model of EMT, ectopically expressing in MDCK cells one of seven EMT transcription factors (SNAI1, SNAI2, ZEB1, ZEB2, TWIST1, TWIST2 or E47) or the EMT inducer LOXL2. In this way, we identified a core subset of deregulated miRNAs that were further validated in vivo, studying endometrial carcinosarcoma (ECS), a tumour entity that represents an extreme example of phenotypic plasticity. Moreover, epigenetic silencing through DNA methylation of miRNA genes of the miR-200 family and miR-205 that are down-regulated during EMT was evident in both the in vitro (MDCK transfectants) and in vivo (ECS) models of EMT. The strong correlation between expression and DNA methylation suggests a major role for this epigenetic mark in the regulation of the miR-141-200c locus.

Högnäs G, Hämälistö S, Rilla K, et al.
Aneuploidy facilitates oncogenic transformation via specific genetic alterations, including Twist2 upregulation.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(9):2000-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aneuploidy, deviation from the normal chromosome number, and other chromosomal aberrations are commonly observed in cancer. Integrin-mediated adhesion and dynamic turnover of adhesion sites are required for successful cytokinesis of normal adherent cells and impaired cell division can lead to the generation of cells with abnormal chromosome contents. We find that repeated cytokinesis failure, due to impaired integrin traffic alone, is sufficient to induce chromosome aberrations resulting in the generation of aneuploid cells with malignant properties. Here, we have compared isogenic aneuploid and euploid cell lines with unravel aneuploidy-induced changes in cellular signaling. Euploid, non-transformed, and aneuploid, transformed, cell lines were investigated using genome-wide gene expression profiling, analysis of deregulated biological pathways and array-comparative genomic hybridization. We find that aneuploidy drives malignancy via inducing marked changes in gene and micro RNA expression profiles and thus imposing specific growth and survival promoting alterations in cellular signaling. Importantly, we identify Twist2 as a key regulator of survival, invasion and anchorage-independent growth in the aneuploid cells. In addition, alterations in lipid biosynthetic pathways and miR-10b upregulation are likely contributors to the malignant phenotype.

Yu H, Jin GZ, Liu K, et al.
Twist2 is a valuable prognostic biomarker for colorectal cancer.
World J Gastroenterol. 2013; 19(15):2404-11 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the significance of Twist2 for colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: In this study, 93 CRC patients were included who received curative surgery in Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital from January 1999 to December 2010. Records of patients' clinicopathological characteristics and follow up data were reviewed. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue blocks were used to observe the protein expression of Twist2 and E-cadherin by immunohistochemistry. Two independent pathologists who were blinded to the clinical information performed semiquantitative scoring of immunostaining. A total score of 3-6 (sum of extent + intensity) was considered as Twist2-positive expression. The expression of E-cadherin was divided into two levels (preserved and reduced). An exploratory statistical analysis was conducted to determine the association between Twist2 expression and clinicopathological parameters, as well as E-cadherin expression. Furthermore, the variables associated with prognosis were analyzed by Cox's proportional hazards model. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to plot survival curves according to different expression levels of Twist2.
RESULTS: Twist2-positive expression was observed in 66 (71.0%) samples and mainly located in the cytoplasm. Forty-three (46.2%) samples showed reduced expression of E-cadherin. There were no significant correlations between Twist2 expression and any of the clinicopathological parameters. However, Twist2-positive expression was significantly associated with reduced expression of E-cadherin (P = 0.040). Multivariate analysis revealed that bad M-stage [hazard ratio (HR) = 7.694, 95%CI: 2.927-20.224, P < 0.001] and Twist2-positive (HR = 5.744, 95%CI: 1.347-24.298, P = 0.018) were the independent risk factors for poor overall survival (OS), while Twist2-positive (HR = 3.264, 95%CI: 1.455-7.375, P = 0.004), bad N-stage (HR = 2.149, 95%CI: 1.226-3.767, P = 0.008) and bad M-stage (HR = 10.907, 95%CI: 4.937-24.096, P < 0.001) were independently associated with poor disease-free survival (DFS). Survival curves showed a definite trend for Twist2-negative patients to have longer OS and DFS than Twist2-negative patients, not only overall, but also for patients in different stages, especially for DFS of patients in stage III (P = 0.033) and IV (P = 0.026).
CONCLUSION: Our data suggests, for the first time, that Twist2 is a valuable prognostic biomarker for CRC, particularly for patients in stage III and IV.

Ishikawa T, Shimizu T, Ueki A, et al.
Twist2 functions as a tumor suppressor in murine osteosarcoma cells.
Cancer Sci. 2013; 104(7):880-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) contributes to the malignant progression of cancer cells including acquisition of the ability to undergo metastasis. However, whereas EMT-related transcription factors (EMT-TF) are known to play an important role in the malignant progression of epithelial tumors, their role in mesenchymal tumors remains largely unknown. We show that expression of the gene for Twist2 is downregulated in human osteosarcoma and correlates inversely with tumorigenic potential in mouse osteosarcoma. Forced expression of Twist2 in highly tumorigenic murine osteosarcoma cells induced a slight inhibition of cell growth in vitro but markedly suppressed tumor formation in vivo. Conversely, knockdown of Twist2 in osteosarcoma cells with a low tumorigenic potential promoted tumor formation in vivo, suggesting that Twist2 functions as a tumor suppressor in osteosarcoma cells. Furthermore, Twist2 induced expression of fibulin-5, which has been reported as a tumor suppressor. Medium conditioned by mouse osteosarcoma cells overexpressing Twist2 inhibited expression of the MMP9 gene as well as invasion in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and forced expression of Twist2 in osteosarcoma cells suppressed MMP9 gene expression in tumor tissue. Data from the present study suggest that Twist2 inhibits formation of a microenvironment conducive to tumor growth and thereby attenuates tumorigenesis in osteosarcoma.

Mao Y, Zhang N, Xu J, et al.
Significance of heterogeneous Twist2 expression in human breast cancers.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(10):e48178 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Twist2 (Dermo1) has been shown to mediate the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to promote tumor invasion and even metastasis. However, the involvement of EMT in breast cancer progression is highly debated, partially due to clinical observations showing that the majority of human breast carcinoma metastases express E-cadherin and maintain their epithelial morphology. The molecular mechanism by which Twist2 participates in EMT of breast cancer in vivo remains poorly understood.
METHODS: We examined Twist2 expression pattern in human breast carcinomas by western blot and tissue microarray, and analyzed Twist2 cellular localization by confocal microscopy, cell fractionation and other approaches.
RESULTS: Twist2 expression was significantly increased in breast cancer. Cytoplasmic Twist2 positive cancer cells expressing E-cadherin on the cellular membrane were mainly located at tumor center of primary carcinomas and lymph metastases, while cancer cells with nuclear Twist2 clearly showed loss of E-cadherin and were detected at the invasive front in ductal breast carcinomas. In addition, ectopically stable-expressed Twist2 was found to localize in the cytoplasm of cancer cells. Collectively, these data indicate that upregulation of cytoplasmic Twist2 is correlated with tumor histological type and tumor metastasis in human breast cancers.
CONCLUSION: The differential cellular distribution of Twist2 may be associated with tumor progression. The cytoplasmic Twist2 in cancer cells at tumor center of primary carcinomas and lymph metastases contributes to the maintenance of epithelial cancer characteristics expressing E-cadherin in a noninvasive state, while the nuclear Twist2 at the cancer invasion front activates EMT to deprive epithelial property of neoplastic cells, thus facilitating invasion and metastasis. These findings suggest that heterogeneous expression of Twist2 in tumors may have a functional link to tumor progression.

Salnikov AV, Liu L, Platen M, et al.
Hypoxia induces EMT in low and highly aggressive pancreatic tumor cells but only cells with cancer stem cell characteristics acquire pronounced migratory potential.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(9):e46391 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
Tumor hypoxia induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which induces invasion and metastasis, and is linked to cancer stem cells (CSCs). Whether EMT generates CSCs de novo, enhances migration of existing CSCs or both is unclear. We examined patient tissue of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) along with carcinomas of breast, lung, kidney, prostate and ovary. For in vitro studies, five established PDA cell lines classified as less (CSC(low)) and highly aggressive CSC-like cells (CSC(high)) were examined by single and double immunofluorescence microscopy, wound-, transwell-, and time-lapse microscopy. HIF-1α and Slug, as well as HIF-2α and CD133 were co-expressed pointing to a putative co-existence of hypoxia, EMT and CSCs in vivo. CSC(high) cells exhibited high basal expression of the mesenchymal Vimentin protein but low or absent expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin, with the opposite result in CSC(low) cells. Hypoxia triggered altering of cell morphology from an epithelial to a mesenchymal phenotype, which was more pronounced in CSC(high) cells. Concomitantly, E-cadherin expression was reduced and expression of Vimentin, Slug, Twist2 and Zeb1 enhanced. While hypoxia caused migration in all cell lines, velocity along with the percentage of migrating, polarized and pseudopodia-forming cells was significantly higher in CSC(high) cells. These data indicate that hypoxia-induced EMT occurs in PDA and several other tumor entities. However although hypoxia-induced EMT signaling occurs in all tumor cell populations, only the stem-like cells acquire high migratory potential and thus may be responsible for invasion and metastasis.

Shimoda M, Sugiura T, Imajyo I, et al.
The T-box transcription factor Brachyury regulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition in association with cancer stem-like cells in adenoid cystic carcinoma cells.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:377 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The high frequencies of recurrence and distant metastasis of adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC) emphasize the need to better understand the biological factors associated with these outcomes. To analyze the mechanisms of AdCC metastasis, we established the green fluorescence protein (GFP)-transfected subline ACCS-GFP from the AdCC parental cell line and the metastatic ACCS-M GFP line from an in vivo metastasis model.
METHODS: Using these cell lines, we investigated the involvement of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer stem cell (CSCs) in AdCC metastasis by real-time RT-PCR for EMT related genes and stem cell markers. Characteristics of CSCs were also analyzed by sphere-forming ability and tumorigenicity. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA) silencing of target gene was also performed.
RESULTS: ACCS-M GFP demonstrated characteristics of EMT and additionally displayed sphere-forming ability and high expression of EMT-related genes (Snail, Twist1, Twist2, Slug, zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 and 2 [Zeb1 and Zeb2], glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta [Gsk3β and transforming growth factor beta 2 [Tgf-β2]), stem cell markers (Nodal, Lefty, Oct-4, Pax6, Rex1, and Nanog), and differentiation markers (sex determining region Y [Sox2], Brachyury, and alpha fetoprotein [Afp]). These observations suggest that ACCS-M GFP shows the characteristics of CSCs and CSCs may be involved in the EMT of AdCC. Surprisingly, shRNA silencing of the T-box transcription factor Brachyury (also a differentiation marker) resulted in downregulation of the EMT and stem cell markers. In addition, sphere-forming ability, EMT characteristics, and tumorigenicity were simultaneously lost. Brachyury expression in clinical samples of AdCC was extremely high and closely related to EMT. This finding suggests that regulation of EMT by Brachyury in clinical AdCC may parallel that observed in vitro in this study.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of a single cell line is a limitation of this study. However, parallel data from in vitro and clinical samples suggest the possibility that EMT is directly linked to CSCs and that Brachyury is a regulator of EMT and CSCs.

Amatangelo MD, Goodyear S, Varma D, Stearns ME
c-Myc expression and MEK1-induced Erk2 nuclear localization are required for TGF-beta induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasion in prostate cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2012; 33(10):1965-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
Understanding the initial mechanisms by which epithelial cells transform to an invasive phenotype is critical to the development of diagnostics that can identify the metastatic potential of cancers as well as therapeutic agents that can prevent metastases. Changes in cellular response to the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) cytokine are known to promote epithelial cell invasion and metastasis in part through induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs). In this report, we demonstrate that non-metastatic human prostate cancer cell lines of increasing Gleason score can be induced to undergo EMT when treated with TGF-β in combination with epidermal growth factor. Mechanistic studies revealed that in cells stably transfected with activated Ras, TGF-β alone induced EMT and that a Ras-Raf-MEK1, but not MEK2, signaling cascade is necessary and sufficient for Erk2 nuclear localization that works in concert with TGF-β to promote EMT. Furthermore, we show for the first time that expression of the transcription factor c-myc, which is phosphorlyated by Erk2, is required for EMT. Characteristically, EMT involved adoption of a spindle-shaped morphology, loss of E-cadherin and increased expression of Vimentin, Fibronectin and Fibroblast Specific Protein-1 (S100A4). Prostate cells undergoing EMT became invasive and expressed several genes associated with metastasis, including MT-MMP1, MMP-2/9, the MMP-9 homodimer, Slug and Twist2. In sum, we demonstrate a novel mechanism by which non-invasive primary prostate tumor cells transition to an invasive phenotype characteristic of malignant tumor cells in response to TGF-β signaling.

Celià-Terrassa T, Meca-Cortés O, Mateo F, et al.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition can suppress major attributes of human epithelial tumor-initiating cells.
J Clin Invest. 2012; 122(5):1849-68 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
Malignant progression in cancer requires populations of tumor-initiating cells (TICs) endowed with unlimited self renewal, survival under stress, and establishment of distant metastases. Additionally, the acquisition of invasive properties driven by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is critical for the evolution of neoplastic cells into fully metastatic populations. Here, we characterize 2 human cellular models derived from prostate and bladder cancer cell lines to better understand the relationship between TIC and EMT programs in local invasiveness and distant metastasis. The model tumor subpopulations that expressed a strong epithelial gene program were enriched in highly metastatic TICs, while a second subpopulation with stable mesenchymal traits was impoverished in TICs. Constitutive overexpression of the transcription factor Snai1 in the epithelial/TIC-enriched populations engaged a mesenchymal gene program and suppressed their self renewal and metastatic phenotypes. Conversely, knockdown of EMT factors in the mesenchymal-like prostate cancer cell subpopulation caused a gain in epithelial features and properties of TICs. Both tumor cell subpopulations cooperated so that the nonmetastatic mesenchymal-like prostate cancer subpopulation enhanced the in vitro invasiveness of the metastatic epithelial subpopulation and, in vivo, promoted the escape of the latter from primary implantation sites and accelerated their metastatic colonization. Our models provide new insights into how dynamic interactions among epithelial, self-renewal, and mesenchymal gene programs determine the plasticity of epithelial TICs.

Heiliger KJ, Hess J, Vitagliano D, et al.
Novel candidate genes of thyroid tumourigenesis identified in Trk-T1 transgenic mice.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2012; 19(3):409-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
For an identification of novel candidate genes in thyroid tumourigenesis, we have investigated gene copy number changes in a Trk-T1 transgenic mouse model of thyroid neoplasia. For this aim, 30 thyroid tumours from Trk-T1 transgenics were investigated by comparative genomic hybridisation. Recurrent gene copy number alterations were identified and genes located in the altered chromosomal regions were analysed by Gene Ontology term enrichment analysis in order to reveal gene functions potentially associated with thyroid tumourigenesis. In thyroid neoplasms from Trk-T1 mice, a recurrent gain on chromosomal bands 1C4-E2.3 (10.0% of cases), and losses on 3H1-H3 (13.3%), 4D2.3-E2 (43.3%) and 14E4-E5 (6.7%) were identified. The genes Twist2, Ptma, Pde6d, Bmpr1b, Pdlim5, Unc5c, Srm, Trp73, Ythdf2, Taf12 and Slitrk5 are located in these chromosomal bands. Copy number changes of these genes were studied by fluorescence in situ hybridisation on 30 human papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) samples and altered gene expression was studied by qRT-PCR analyses in 67 human PTC. Copy number gains were detected in 83% of cases for TWIST2 and in 100% of cases for PTMA and PDE6D. DNA losses of SLITRK1 and SLITRK5 were observed in 21% of cases and of SLITRK6 in 16% of cases. Gene expression was significantly up-regulated for UNC5C and TP73 and significantly down-regulated for SLITRK5 in tumours compared with normal tissue. In conclusion, a global genomic copy number analysis of thyroid tumours from Trk-T1 transgenic mice revealed a number of novel gene alterations in thyroid tumourigenesis that are also prevalent in human PTCs.

Haslehurst AM, Koti M, Dharsee M, et al.
EMT transcription factors snail and slug directly contribute to cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:91 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a molecular process through which an epithelial cell undergoes transdifferentiation into a mesenchymal phenotype. The role of EMT in embryogenesis is well-characterized and increasing evidence suggests that elements of the transition may be important in other processes, including metastasis and drug resistance in various different cancers.
METHODS: Agilent 4 × 44 K whole human genome arrays and selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry were used to investigate mRNA and protein expression in A2780 cisplatin sensitive and resistant cell lines. Invasion and migration were assessed using Boyden chamber assays. Gene knockdown of snail and slug was done using targeted siRNA. Clinical relevance of the EMT pathway was assessed in a cohort of primary ovarian tumours using data from Affymetrix GeneChip Human Genome U133 plus 2.0 arrays.
RESULTS: Morphological and phenotypic hallmarks of EMT were identified in the chemoresistant cells. Subsequent gene expression profiling revealed upregulation of EMT-related transcription factors including snail, slug, twist2 and zeb2. Proteomic analysis demonstrated up regulation of Snail and Slug as well as the mesenchymal marker Vimentin, and down regulation of E-cadherin, an epithelial marker. By reducing expression of snail and slug, the mesenchymal phenotype was largely reversed and cells were resensitized to cisplatin. Finally, gene expression data from primary tumours mirrored the finding that an EMT-like pathway is activated in resistant tumours relative to sensitive tumours, suggesting that the involvement of this transition may not be limited to in vitro drug effects.
CONCLUSIONS: This work strongly suggests that genes associated with EMT may play a significant role in cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer, therefore potentially leading to the development of predictive biomarkers of drug response or novel therapeutic strategies for overcoming drug resistance.

Gasparotto D, Polesel J, Marzotto A, et al.
Overexpression of TWIST2 correlates with poor prognosis in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.
Oncotarget. 2011; 2(12):1165-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are a heterogeneous group of tumors with variable presentation and clinical behavior. Despite improvements in surgical and radiation therapy techniques, the 5-year survival rate has not improved significantly over the past decades. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify novel markers that may allow for the development of personalized therapeutic approaches. In the present study we evaluated the prognostic role of the expression of genes related to the induction of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). To this aim, a consecutive series of 69 HNSCC were analyzed for the expression of TWIST1, TWIST2, SNAI1, SNAI2, E-Cadherin, N-Cadherin and Vimentin.TWIST1, TWIST2, SNAI1 and SNAI2 were significantly overexpressed in HNSCC, with TWIST2, SNAI1 and SNAI2 being more markedly increased in tumors compared to normal mucosae. The expression of TWIST1 and SNAI2 was associated with upregulation of mesenchymal markers, but failed to correlate with pathological parameters or clinical behaviour. In contrast, we found that upregulation of TWIST2, which was independent of the activation of a mesenchymal differentiation program, correlated with poor differentiation grade (p=0.016) and shorter survival (p=0.025), and identifies a subset of node-positive oral cavity/pharynx cancer patients with very poor prognosis (p less than 0.001). Overall our study suggests that the assessment of TWIST2 expression might help to stratify HNSCC patients for risk of disease progression, pointing to TWIST2 as a potential prognostic marker.

Zhou C, Liu J, Tang Y, et al.
Coexpression of hypoxia-inducible factor-2α, TWIST2, and SIP1 may correlate with invasion and metastasis of salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2012; 41(5):424-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) of salivary gland is characterized by advanced local invasion and distant metastasis. Intratumoral hypoxia was reported to be associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) regulators. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2α, TWIST2, and SIP1 expression and the invasion and metastasis in ACC of salivary gland.
METHOD: In vitro we first detected the expression of HIF-2α, TWIST2, and SIP1 in two ACC cell lines by Western blot and real-time RT-PCR. Then, in vivo, a retrospective investigation of 121 patients with ACC from Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University between 1996 and 2005 was carried out using immunohistochemistry to analyze the association between the expression of these three factors and clinical-pathological factors of patients.
RESULTS: The protein and mRNA levels of HIF-2α, TWIST2, and SIP1 in the high-metastasis cell line (ACC-M) were much higher than those of the low-metastasis cell line (ACC-2). The positive expression of HIF-2α, TWIST2, and SIP1 (71.07%, 42.98%, and 38.02%, respectively) was associated with the perineural invasion, the local recurrence, and distant metastasis of patients with ACC (P < 0.05). The patients with the positive coexpression of the three factors had a lower survival rate than those with the negative expression (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: It is proposed that the elevated expression of HIF-2α, TWIST2, and SIP1 can contribute to invasion and metastasis of ACC, and there might be some correlation between the hypoxia microenvironment and EMT in ACC.

Thathia SH, Ferguson S, Gautrey HE, et al.
Epigenetic inactivation of TWIST2 in acute lymphoblastic leukemia modulates proliferation, cell survival and chemosensitivity.
Haematologica. 2012; 97(3):371-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Altered regulation of many transcription factors has been shown to be important in the development of leukemia. TWIST2 modulates the activity of a number of important transcription factors and is known to be a regulator of hematopoietic differentiation. Here, we investigated the significance of epigenetic regulation of TWIST2 in the control of cell growth and survival and in response to cytotoxic agents in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
DESIGN AND METHODS: TWIST2 promoter methylation status was assessed quantitatively, by combined bisulfite and restriction analysis (COBRA) and pyrosequencing assays, in multiple types of leukemia and TWIST2 expression was determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis. The functional role of TWIST2 in cell proliferation, survival and response to chemotherapy was assessed in transient and stable expression systems.
RESULTS: We found that TWIST2 was inactivated in more than 50% of cases of childhood and adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia through promoter hypermethylation and that this epigenetic regulation was especially prevalent in RUNX1-ETV6-driven cases. Re-expression of TWIST2 in cell lines resulted in a dramatic reduction in cell growth and induction of apoptosis in the Reh cell line. Furthermore, re-expression of TWIST2 resulted in increased sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agents etoposide, daunorubicin and dexamethasone and TWIST2 hypermethylation was almost invariably found in relapsed adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (91% of samples hypermethylated).
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests a dual role for epigenetic inactivation of TWIST2 in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, initially through altering cell growth and survival properties and subsequently by increasing resistance to chemotherapy.

Fang X, Cai Y, Liu J, et al.
Twist2 contributes to breast cancer progression by promoting an epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem-like cell self-renewal.
Oncogene. 2011; 30(47):4707-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a highly conserved cellular programme that has an important role in normal embryogenesis and in cancer invasion and metastasis. We report here that Twist2, a tissue-specific basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, is overexpressed in human breast cancers and lymph node metastases. In mammary epithelial cells and breast cancer cells, ectopic overexpression of Twist2 results in morphological transformation, downregulation of epithelial markers and upregulation of mesenchymal markers. Moreover, Twist2 enhances the cell migration and colony-forming abilities of mammary epithelial cells and breast cancer cells in vitro and promotes tumour growth in vivo. Ectopic expression of Twist2 in mammary epithelial cells and breast cancer cells increases the size and number of their CD44(high)/CD24(low) stem-like cell sub-populations, promotes the expression of stem cell markers and enhances the self-renewal capabilities of stem-like cells. In addition, exogenous expression of Twist2 leads to constitutive activation of STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) and downregulation of E-cadherin. Thus, the overexpression of Twist2 may contribute to breast cancer progression by activating the EMT programme and enhancing the self-renewal of cancer stem-like cells.

Mao Y, Toh HB, Ding Z, et al.
Differential methylation of CpG islands within the dermo1 gene promoter in several cancer cell lines.
Oncol Rep. 2011; 25(1):107-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inactivation of tumor-related genes by promoter hypermethylation is a common epigenetic event in the development of variety of tumors. Dermo1 (also called twist2) is a novel cancer-related gene which belongs to the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor family. Herein, we report that dermo1 expression was sporadically abrogated in human cancer cells by transcriptional silencing associated with CpG island promoter hypermethylation. Direct sequencing of bisulfite-modified DNA from a panel of seven human cancer cell lines (HL60, Molm14, MV4-11, RS4:11, MDM-BA231, H358, and H1299) revealed that CpG dinucleotides in the dermo1 promoter were methylated. RT-PCR results demonstrated that dermo1 CpG island hypermethylation was accompanied by a low basal dermo1 expression level. Our data implicate dermo1 as a tumor suppressor gene and a valuable molecular marker for human cancer.

Gemmill RM, Roche J, Potiron VA, et al.
ZEB1-responsive genes in non-small cell lung cancer.
Cancer Lett. 2011; 300(1):66-78 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a developmental process enabling epithelial cells to gain a migratory mesenchymal phenotype. In cancer, this process contributes to metastases; however the regulatory signals and mechanistic details are not fully elucidated. Here, we sought to identify the subset of genes regulated in lung cancer by ZEB1, an E-box transcriptional repressor known to induce EMT. Using an Affymetrix-based expression database of 38 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, we identified 324 genes that correlated negatively with ZEB1 and 142 that were positively correlated. A mesenchymal gene pattern (low E-cadherin, high Vimentin or N-cadherin) was significantly associated with ZEB1 and ZEB2, but not with Snail, Slug, Twist1 or Twist2. Among eight genes selected for validation, seven were confirmed to correlate with ZEB1 by quantitative real-time RT-PCR in a series of 22 NSCLC cell lines, either negatively (CDS1, EpCAM, ESRP1, ESRP2, ST14) or positively (FGFR1, Vimentin). In addition, over-expression or knockdown of ZEB1 led to corresponding changes in gene expression, demonstrating that these genes are also regulated by ZEB1, either directly or indirectly. Of note, the combined knockdown of ZEB1 and ZEB2 led to apparent synergistic responses in gene expression. Furthermore, these responses were not restricted to artificial settings, since most genes were similarly regulated during a physiologic induction of EMT by TGF-β plus EGF. Finally, the absence of ST14 (matriptase) was linked to ZEB1 positivity in lung cancer tissue microarrays, implying that the regulation observed in vitro applies to the human disease. In summary, this study identifies a new set of ZEB-regulated genes in human lung cancer cells and supports the hypothesis that ZEB1 and ZEB2 are key regulators of the EMT process in this disease.

Wegwitz F, Kluth MA, Mänz C, et al.
Tumorigenic WAP-T mouse mammary carcinoma cells: a model for a self-reproducing homeostatic cancer cell system.
PLoS One. 2010; 5(8):e12103 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In analogy to normal stem cell differentiation, the current cancer stem cell (CSC) model presumes a hierarchical organization and an irreversible differentiation in tumor tissue. Accordingly, CSCs should comprise only a small subset of the tumor cells, which feeds tumor growth. However, some recent findings raised doubts on the general applicability of the CSC model and asked for its refinement.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study we analyzed the CSC properties of mammary carcinoma cells derived from transgenic (WAP-T) mice. We established a highly tumorigenic WAP-T cell line (G-2 cells) that displays stem-like traits. G-2 cells, as well as their clonal derivates, are closely related to primary tumors regarding histology and gene expression profiles, and reflect heterogeneity regarding their differentiation states. G-2 cultures comprise cell populations in distinct differentiation states identified by co-expression of cytoskeletal proteins (cytokeratins and vimentin), a combination of cell surface markers and a set of transcription factors. Cellular subsets sorted according to expression of CD24a, CD49f, CD61, Epcam, Sca1, and Thy1 cell surface proteins, or metabolic markers (e.g. ALDH activity) are competent to reconstitute the initial cellular composition. Repopulation efficiency greatly varies between individual subsets and is influenced by interactions with the respective complementary G-2 cellular subset. The balance between differentiation states is regulated in part by the transcription factor Sox10, as depletion of Sox10 led to up-regulation of Twist2 and increased the proportion of Thy1-expressing cells representing cells in a self-renewable, reversible, quasi-mesenchymal differentiation state.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: G-2 cells constitute a self-reproducing cancer cell system, maintained by bi- and unidirectional conversion of complementary cellular subsets. Our work contributes to the current controversial discussion on the existence and nature of CSC and provides a basis for the incorporation of alternative hypotheses into the CSC model.

Ponnusamy MP, Lakshmanan I, Jain M, et al.
MUC4 mucin-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition: a novel mechanism for metastasis of human ovarian cancer cells.
Oncogene. 2010; 29(42):5741-54 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
The acquisition of invasiveness in ovarian cancer (OC) is accompanied by the process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The MUC4 mucin is overexpressed in ovarian tumors and has a role in the invasiveness of OC cells. The present study was aimed at evaluating the potential involvement of MUC4 in the metastasis of OC cells by inducing EMT. Ectopic overexpression of MUC4 in OC cells (SKOV3-MUC4) resulted in morphological alterations along with a decreased expression of epithelial markers (E-cadherin and cytokeratin (CK)-18) and an increased expression of mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin and vimentin) compared with the control cells (SKOV3-vector). Also, pro-EMT transcription factors TWIST1, TWIST2 and SNAIL showed an upregulation in SKOV3-MUC4 cells. We further investigated the pathways upstream of N-cadherin, such as focal adhesion kinase (FAK), MKK7, JNK1/2 and c-Jun, which were also activated in the SKOV3-MUC4 cells compared with SKOV3-vector cells. Inhibition of phospho-FAK (pFAK) and pJNK1/2 decreased N-cadherin expression in the MUC4-overexpressing cells, which further led to a significant decrease in cellular motility. Knockdown of N-cadherin decreased the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2), AKT and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), and inhibited the motility in the SKOV3-MUC4 cells. Upon in vivo tumorigenesis and metastasis analysis, the SKOV3-MUC4 cells produced significantly larger tumors and demonstrated a higher incidence of metastasis to distance organs (peritoneal wall, colon, intestine, stomach, lymph nodes, liver and diaphragm). Taken together, our study reveals a novel role for MUC4 in inducing EMT through the upregulation of N-cadherin and promoting metastasis of OC cells.

Masuda R, Semba S, Mizuuchi E, et al.
Negative regulation of the tight junction protein tricellulin by snail-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in gastric carcinoma cells.
Pathobiology. 2010; 77(2):106-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Tricellulin plays a central role in the sealing of epithelia at tricellular contacts. We examined the effects of Snail, an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related transcription factor, on the regulation of tricellulin expression in human gastric carcinoma (GC)-derived cells.
METHOD: Six human GC-derived cell lines were used in this study. Expression and localization of tricellulin was analyzed by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Also, a Snail expression vector was transfected into HSC-45 cells to examine altered mRNA levels of tricellulin,E-cadherin, vimentin, N-cadherin and several EMT transcription factors by quantitative real-time RT-PCR.
RESULTS: Abundant tricellulin expression was detected in all GC-derived cells examined. In HSC-45 cells, transduction of Snail decreased the expression levels of tricellulin and E-cadherin but increased vimentin and N-cadherin, which was accompanied by induction of EMT transcription factors such as Twist1, Twist2 and Slug. In normal gastric mucosa, tricellulin protein was localized at the tricellular tight junction; however, in HSC-45 cells, tricellulin protein was distributed in the cytoplasm. In GC tissues, tricellulin expression at the cellular membrane was retained in a subset of EMT-negative GCs, and it disappeared in EMT-positive GCs.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings in the present study suggest that repression of tricellulin expression may be related to Snail-induced EMT in human GCs.

Zhao XL, Sun T, Che N, et al.
Promotion of hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis through matrix metalloproteinase activation by epithelial-mesenchymal transition regulator Twist1.
J Cell Mol Med. 2011; 15(3):691-700 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
E-cadherin loss is a key biological mechanism in tumour invasion. As a main regulator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) mechanism-mediated invasion and metastasis, Twist1 plays an important role through its regulation of E-cadherin expression. However, whether or not Twist2 has the same function in tumour metastasis remains unclear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the expressions and different roles of Twist1 and Twist2 in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The expressions of Twist1 and Twist2 in HCC tissue were evaluated by immunohistochemical staining. The role of Twist1 and Twist2 in invasiveness was also evaluated in vitro by using HCC cell lines. Twist1 nuclear overexpression is found to be correlated with HCC metastasis, and its expression is negatively correlated with E-cadherin expression in human tissue. Twist2, a Twist1 homology protein, only expresses in the cytoplasm and shows no significant correlation with HCC metastasis. By ectopic transfection of Twist1 and Twist2 into the HCC cells, HepG2 and PLC, Twist1 is able to down-regulate E-cadherin expression and promote matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activation, specifically in MMP2 and MMP9. In functional assays, Twist1 is found to promote invasion in HepG2 and PLC cells, but the invasion ability of the groups is not affected Twist2. Our findings indicate that Twist1 induces HCC invasion via increased activity in MMPs, leading to poor clinical prognoses. The results of this study also demonstrate a novel cogitation in Twist2, which has no effect on HCC invasion and metastasis. Twist1 may contribute to HCC invasion and metastasis and may be used as a novel therapeutic target for the inhibition of HCC metastasis.

Wang HW, Wu YH, Hsieh JY, et al.
Pediatric primary central nervous system germ cell tumors of different prognosis groups show characteristic miRNome traits and chromosome copy number variations.
BMC Genomics. 2010; 11:132 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Intracranial pediatric germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare and heterogeneous neoplasms and vary in histological differentiation, prognosis and clinical behavior. Germinoma and mature teratoma are GCTs that have a good prognosis, while other types of GCTs, termed nongerminomatous malignant germ cell tumors (NGMGCTs), are tumors with an intermediate or poor prognosis. The second group of tumors requires more extensive drug and irradiation treatment regimens. The mechanisms underlying the differences in incidence and prognosis of the various GCT subgroups are unclear.
RESULTS: We identified a distinct mRNA profile correlating with GCT histological differentiation and prognosis, and also present in this study the first miRNA profile of pediatric primary intracranial GCTs. Most of the differentially expressed miRNAs were downregulated in germinomas, but miR-142-5p and miR-146a were upregulated. Genes responsible for self-renewal (such as POU5F1 (OCT4), NANOG and KLF4) and the immune response were abundant in germinomas, while genes associated with neuron differentiation, Wnt/beta-catenin pathway, invasiveness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (including SNAI2 (SLUG) and TWIST2) were abundant in NGMGCTs. Clear transcriptome segregation based on patient survival was observed, with malignant NGMGCTs being closest to embryonic stem cells. Chromosome copy number variations (CNVs) at cytobands 4q13.3-4q28.3 and 9p11.2-9q13 correlated with GCT malignancy and clinical risk. Six genes (BANK1, CXCL9, CXCL11, DDIT4L, ELOVL6 and HERC5) within 4q13.3-4q28.3 were more abundant in germinomas.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results integrate molecular profiles with clinical observations and provide insights into the underlying mechanisms causing GCT malignancy. The genes, pathways and microRNAs identified have the potential to be novel therapeutic targets.

Koh HS, Lee C, Lee KS, et al.
Twist2 regulates CD7 expression and galectin-1-induced apoptosis in mature T-cells.
Mol Cells. 2009; 28(6):553-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the periphery, a galectin-1 receptor, CD7, plays crucial roles in galectin-1-mediated apoptosis of activated T-cells as well as progression of T-lymphoma. Previously, we demonstrated that NF-kappaB downregulated CD7 gene expression through the p38 MAPK pathway in developing immature thymocytes. However, its regulatory pathway is not well understood in functional mature T-cells. Here, we show that CD7 expression was downregulated by Twist2 in Jurkat cells, a human acute T-cell lymphoma cell line, and in EL4 cells, a mature murine T-cell lymphoma cell line. Furthermore, ectopic expression of Twist2 in Jurkat cells reduced galectin-1-induced apoptosis. While full-length Twist2 decreased CD7 promoter activity, a C-terminal deletion form of Twist2 reversed its inhibition, suggesting an important role of the C-terminus in CD7 regulation. In addition, CD7 expression was enhanced by histone deacetylase inhibitors such as trichostatin A and sodium butyrate, which indicates that Twist2 might be one of candidate factors involved in histone deacetylation. Based on these results, we conclude that upregulation of Twist2 increases the resistance to galectin-1-mediated-apoptosis, which may have significant implications for the progression of some T-cells into tumors such as Sezary cells.

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