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Oncogenesis. 2013 Jun 17;2:e52. doi: 10.1038/oncsis.2013.18.

Deficiency of Erbin induces resistance of cervical cancer cells to anoikis in a STAT3-dependent manner.

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  • 1Department of Pathophysiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China.


Epithelial cell polarization and integration are essential to their function and loss of epithelial polarity and tissue architecture correlates with the development of aggressive tumors. Erbin is a basolateral membrane-associated protein. The roles of Erbin in establishing cell polarization and regulating cell adhesion have been suggested. Erbin is also a negative regulator in Ras-Raf-ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) signaling pathway. However, the potential functions of Erbin in human cancer are basically unknown. In the present study, we show, for the first time, that loss of Erbin endows cervical cancer cells with resistance to anoikis both in vitro and in vivo and promotes the growth and metastasis of human cervical cancer xenografts in nude mice. We found that knockdown of Erbin induced the phosphorylation, nuclear translocation and transcriptional activities of signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 3 (STAT3) in cervical cancer cells. Overexpression of STAT3C or induction of endogenous STAT3 activation by interleukin (IL)-6 evidently inhibited anoikis of cervical cancer cells, whereas WP1066, a potent inhibitor of Janus-activated kinase 2 (Jak2)/STAT3, effectively blocked the effect of Erbin knockdown on cell survival under anchorage-independent conditions, indicating that loss of Erbin confers resistance of cervical cancer cells to anoikis in a STAT3-dependent manner. Interestingly, IL-6 induced STAT3 activation and Erbin expression simultaneously. Overexpression of STAT3C also significantly upregulated the level of Erbin, whereas the Jak2 inhibitor AG490 remarkably blocked not only STAT3 phosphorylation but also IL-6-induced Erbin expression. Knockdown of Erbin augmented the effects of IL-6 on STAT3 activation and anoikis resistance. In addition, by immunohistochemical analysis of Erbin expression, we demonstrate that the expression of Erbin is significantly decreased or even lost in cervical cancer tissues. These data reveal that Erbin is a novel negative regulator of STAT3, and the IL-6/STAT3/Erbin loop has a crucial role in cervical cancer progression and metastasis.

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