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Mol Cancer. 2011 Aug 19;10:100. doi: 10.1186/1476-4598-10-100.

LIP expression is regulated by IGF-1R signaling and participates in suppression of anoikis.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland 21231, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The transcription factor, CCAAT enhancer binding protein-β (C/EBPβ), is expressed as several distinct protein isoforms (LAP1, LAP2 and LIP) that have opposing actions in cellular proliferation and differentiation. Increases in the ratio of LIP/LAP are associated with aggressive, metastatic breast cancer; however, little is known regarding the molecular mechanisms that regulate LIP expression or the biological actions of an increase in the LIP/LAP ratio. Metastasis is highly dependent upon the suppression of anoikis and the role of C/EBPβ and LIP in this anchorage-independent, survival process is currently not known in mammary epithelial cells. IGF-1R signaling is important for the survival of breast cancer cells and crosstalk between IGF-1R and EGFR signaling pathways have been implicated in the development of more aggressive disease. We therefore evaluated in mammary epithelial cells whether IGF-1R signaling regulates the LIP/LAP ratio, analyzed the potential interplay between EGFR and IGF-1R signaling and addressed the biological significance of increased LIP expression in cellular survival and suppression of anoikis.

RESULTS:

Our data provide the first evidence that IGF-1R signaling regulates LIP expression in an EGFR independent manner to increase the LIP/LAP ratio in mammary epithelial cells. Although crosstalk between IGF-1R signaling and EGFR signaling is detectable in MCF10A cells, this crosstalk is not required for the IGF-1 mediated regulation of LIP expression. Rather, the critical regulator of IGF-1 induced LIP expression appears to be EGFR-independent, Akt activity. Our data also demonstrate that increases in LIP expression promote cell survival via suppression of anoikis. Likewise, knockdown of total C/EBPβ leads to increased cell death and suggest that C/EBPβ expression is important for survival and resistance to anoikis. IGF-1 treatment can partially rescue vector control cells from anoikis; however, cells with reduced C/EBPβ expression do not survive anoikis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Taken together, our data demonstrate that IGF-1R signaling regulates LIP expression in an EGFR independent manner to increase the LIP/LAP ratio in mammary epithelial cells. C/EBPβ expression and elevations in LIP play an important role in regulating cellular survival via suppression of anoikis, in an IGF-1R mediated context or in a manner independent of IGF-1R signaling.

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