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Cancer Res. 2005 Dec 15;65(24):11572-80.

Novel role for PDEF in epithelial cell migration and invasion.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Cell migration and invasion are two critical cellular processes that are often deregulated during tumorigenesis. To identify factors that contribute to oncogenic progression by stimulating cell migration, we conducted a powerful retroviral based migration screen using an MCF7 cDNA library and the immortalized human breast epithelial cell line MCF-10A. We identified prostate derived Ets factor (PDEF), an Ets transcription factor that is overexpressed in both prostate and breast carcinoma, as a candidate promigratory gene from this screen. Whereas PDEF induced limited motility of MCF-10A cells, coexpression of PDEF with the receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) ErbB2 and colony-stimulating factor receptor (CSF-1R)/CSF-1 significantly enhanced MCF-10A motility. Furthermore, cells coexpressing PDEF with either ErbB2 or CSF-1R/CSF-1 induced a dramatic invasive phenotype in three-dimensional cultures. Constitutive activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway also enhanced PDEF-induced motility and invasion, suggesting that activation of the ERK/mitogen-activated protein kinase by ErbB2 and CSF-1R/CSF-1 can cooperate with PDEF to promote motility and invasion. Furthermore, PDEF promoted anchorage-independent growth of ErbB2 and CSF-1R/CSF-1-expressing cells. Using laser capture microdissection, we also found that PDEF mRNA is overexpressed in breast tumor epithelia throughout tumor progression. Taken together, these findings suggest that the transcription factor PDEF may play an important role in breast tumorigenesis and that PDEF overexpression may be particularly significant in tumors that exhibit activation of oncogenic RTKs such as ErbB2 and CSF-1R.

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