Tumor invasion and metastasis are the major causes of treatment failure and mortality in lung cancer patients. In this study, we identified a group of genes with differential expression in in situ and invasive lung adenocarcinoma tissues by expression profiling; among these genes we further characterized the association of the upregulation of PRNP, the gene encoding cellular Prion protein (PrPc), with lung adenocarcinoma invasiveness. Immunohistochemistry on clinical specimens showed an association of PrPc expression with invasive but not in situ lung adenocarcinoma. Consistently, the expression of PrPc was higher in the highly invasive than in the lowly invasive lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. Knockdown of PrPc expression in cultured lung adenocarcinoma cells decreased their lamellipodium formation, in vitro migration and invasion, and in vivo experimental lung metastasis. Phosphorylation of JNKs was found to correlate with PrPc expression and the inhibition of JNKs suppressed the PrPc-induced up-regulation of lamellipodium formation, cell migration, and invasion. Moreover, we identified the nuclear factor, interleukin 3 regulated (NFIL3) protein as a transcriptional activator of the PRNP promoter. Accordingly, NFIL3 promoted lung cancer cell migration and invasion in a PrPc-dependent manner. High NFIL3 expression in clinical specimens of lung adenocarcinoma was also associated with tumor invasiveness. Overall, our observations suggest that the NFIL3/PrPc axis, through regulating lamellipodium formation and cell mobility via JNK signaling, plays a critical role in lung cancer invasiveness and metastasis.
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2020|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research