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Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Apr;39(4):3549-56. doi: 10.1007/s11033-011-1128-0. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

Transforming growth factor-β1 induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in human lung cancer cells via PI3K/Akt and MEK/Erk1/2 signaling pathways.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic Surgury, Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai, China.


Metastasis of tumor cells is associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is a process whereby epithelial cells lose their polarity and acquire new features of mesenchyme. EMT has been reported to be induced by transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), but its mechanism remains elusive. In this study, we performed a study to investigate whether PI3K/Akt and MAPK/Erk1/2 signaling pathways involved in EMT in the human lung cancer A549 cells. The results showed that after treated with TGF-β1 for 48 h, A549 cells displayed more fibroblast-like shape, lost epithelial marker E-cadherin and increased mesenchymal markers Vimentin and Fibronectin. Moreover, TGF-β1-induced EMT after 48 h was accompanied by increased of cell migration and change of Akt and Erk1/2 phosphorylation. In addition, EMT was reversed by PI3K inhibitor LY294002 and MEK1/2 inhibitor U0126, which suggested that A549 cells under stimulation of TGF-β1 undergo a switch into mesenchymal cells and PI3K/Akt and MAPK/Erk1/2 signaling pathways serve to regulate TGF-β1-induced EMT of A549 cells.

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