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Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Apr;27(8):3165-75. Epub 2007 Feb 12.

Constitutively active type I insulin-like growth factor receptor causes transformation and xenograft growth of immortalized mammary epithelial cells and is accompanied by an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition mediated by NF-kappaB and snail.

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Baylor College of Medicine, Breast Center MS:600, One Baylor Plaza, Room N1110, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR) can transform mouse fibroblasts; however, little is known about the transforming potential of IGF-IR in human fibroblasts or epithelial cells. We found that overexpression of a constitutively activated IGF-IR (CD8-IGF-IR) was sufficient to cause transformation of immortalized human mammary epithelial cells and growth in immunocompromised mice. Furthermore, CD8-IGF-IR caused cells to undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) which was associated with dramatically increased migration and invasion. The EMT was mediated by the induction of the transcriptional repressor Snail and downregulation of E-cadherin. NF-kappaB was highly active in CD8-IGF-IR-MCF10A cells, and both increased levels of Snail and the EMT were partially reversed by blocking NF-kappaB or IGF-IR activity. This study places IGF-IR among a small group of oncogenes that, when overexpressed alone, can confer in vivo tumorigenic growth of MCF10A cells and indicates the hierarchy in the mechanism of IGF-IR-induced EMT.

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