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J Biol Chem. 2007 Mar 2;282(9):6001-11. Epub 2007 Jan 2.

Keratinocyte growth factor/fibroblast growth factor-7-regulated cell migration and invasion through activation of NF-kappaB transcription factors.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF)/fibroblast growth factor-7 (FGF-7) is a paracrine- and epithelium-specific growth factor produced by cells of mesenchymal origin. It acts exclusively through FGF-7 receptor (FGFR2/IIIb), which is expressed predominantly by epithelial cells, but not by fibroblasts, suggesting that it might function as a paracrine mediator of mesenchymal-epithelial interactions. KGF/FGF-7 plays an essential role in the growth of epithelial cells and is frequently overexpressed in cancers of epithelial origin such as pancreatic cancer, switching paracrine stimulation of KGF/FGF-7 to an autocrine loop. Less is known, however, about the signaling pathways by which KGF/FGF-7 regulates the response of epithelial cells. To delineate the signaling pathways activated by KGF/FGF-7 and examine cellular response to KGF/FGF-7 stimulation, we performed functional analysis of KGF/FGF-7 action. In this report, we show that KGF/FGF-7 activated nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), which in turn induced expression of VEGF, MMP-9, and urokinase-type plasminogen activator and increased migration and invasion of KGF/FGF-7-stimulated human pancreatic ductal epithelial cells. Expression of phosphorylation-defective IkappaBalpha (IkappaBalphaS32A,S36A), which blocked NF-kappaB activation, inhibited KGF/FGF-7-induced gene expression and cell migration and invasion. Our results demonstrate for the first time that KGF/FGF-7 induces NF-kappaB activation and that NF-kappaB plays an essential role in regulation of KGF/FGF-7-inducible gene expression and KGF/FGF-7-initiated cellular responses. Thus, these findings identify one signaling pathway for KGF/FGF-7-regulated cell migration and invasion and suggest that paracrine sources of KGF/FGF-7 are one of the malignancy-contributing factors from tumor stroma.

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