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J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 1;285(40):30731-40. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.128124. Epub 2010 Jul 22.

TNFα-exposed bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells promote locomotion of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells through transcriptional activation of CXCR3 ligand chemokines.

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  • 1Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology, Konkuk University Hospital, Seoul 143-729, Korea.


Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) are often recruited to solid tumors, integrate into the tumor stroma, and contribute to tumor development. TNFα is a major inflammatory cytokine present in the tumor microenvironment and has a profound influence on the progression of tumor development. This study was aimed to investigate the role of BM-MSCs in tumor promotion in response to TNFα. Quantitative real-time PCR arrays show that diverse cytokines/chemokines were induced in TNFα-treated BM-MSCs; in particular, CXCR3 ligand chemokines, including CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11, were potently induced. A serial and site-directed mutation analysis in the CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 promoters revealed that NF-κB binding elements were responsible for TNFα-induced promoter activation of CXCR3 ligand chemokines. TNFα stimulated NF-κB activity, and ectopic expression of NF-κB enhanced TNFα-induced promoter activities of the CXCR3 ligand chemokines. Gel shift and supershift assays showed that NF-κB was associated with CXCR3 ligand chemokine promoters in response to TNFα treatment. All three CXCR3 ligand chemokines enhanced the migration and invasive motility of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells expressing CXCR3. Treatment of MDA-MB-231 cells with CXCL10 activated small GTPase of Rho family proteins, such as RhoA and Cdc42. CXCL9-, CXCL10-, or CXCL11-induced invasive capability of MDA-MB-231 cells was completely abrogated in the presence of a neutralizing anti-CXCR3 antibody in the culture medium. Moreover, CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 stimulated the expression of MMP-9, but not MMP-2, in MDA-MB-231 cells. These results suggest that BM-MSCs promote the locomotion of breast cancer cells through CXCR3 ligand-mediated actin rearrangement by TNFα in the tumor microenvironment.

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