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Cell Death Dis. 2014 Feb 27;5:e1092. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.32.

Knockdown of BAG3 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition in thyroid cancer cells through ZEB1 activation.

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  • 11] Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China [2] Key Laboratory of Cell Biology, Ministry of Public Health, and Key Laboratory of Medical Cell Biology, Ministry of Education, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China.
  • 2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China.
  • 3Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, the 1st Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China.
  • 4Key Laboratory of Cell Biology, Ministry of Public Health, and Key Laboratory of Medical Cell Biology, Ministry of Education, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China.

Abstract

The process by which epithelial features are lost in favor of a mesenchymal phenotype is referred to as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Most carcinomas use this mechanism to evade into neighboring tissues. Reduction or a loss of E-cadherin expression is a well-established hallmark of EMT. As a potent suppressor of E-cadherin, transcription factor ZEB1 is one of the key inducers of EMT, whose expression promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis of carcinomas. Bcl-2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) affects multifaceted cellular functions, including proliferation, apoptosis, cell adhesion and invasion, viral infection, and autophagy. Recently, we have reported a novel role of BAG3 implicated in EMT, while the mechanisms are poorly elucidated. The current study demonstrated that knockdown of BAG3 induced EMT, and increased cell migratory and invasiveness in thyroid cancer cells via transcriptional activation of ZEB1. We also found that BAG3 knockdown led to nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, which was responsible for the transcriptional activation of ZEB1. These results indicate BAG3 as a regulator of ZEB1 expression in EMT and as a regulator of metastasis in thyroid cancer cells, providing potential targets to prevent and/or treat thyroid cancer cell invasion and metastasis.

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