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Cancer Res. 2009 Jul 1;69(13):5349-56. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-0488. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

Phosphoglucose isomerase/autocrine motility factor mediates epithelial and mesenchymal phenotype conversions in breast cancer.

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  • 1Tumor Progression and Metastasis Program, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Phosphoglucose isomerase/autocrine motility factor (PGI/AMF) is a housekeeping gene product/cytokine that catalyzes a step in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, and acts as a multifunctional cytokine associated with aggressive tumors. PGI/AMF has been correlated significantly with breast cancer progression and poor prognosis in breast cancer. We show here that ectopic expression of PGI/AMF induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in MCF10A normal human breast epithelial cells, and inhibition of PGI/AMF expression triggered mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) in aggressive mesenchymal-type human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells. EMT in MCF10A cells was shown by morphologic changes and loss of E-cadherin/beta-catenin-mediated cell-cell adhesion, which is concomitant with the induction of the E-cadherin transcriptional repressor Snail and proteosome-dependent degradation of beta-catenin protein. Molecular analysis showed that PGI/AMF suppressed epithelial marker expressions and enhanced mesenchymal marker expressions. Silencing of PGI/AMF expression by RNA interference in MDA-MB-231 cells induced the reverse processes of EMT including altered cell shape, gain of epithelial marker, and reduction of mesenchymal marker, e.g., MET. Taken together, the results show the involvement of PGI/AMF in both EMT and MET: overexpression of PGI/AMF induces EMT in normal breast epithelial cells and reduction of PGI/AMF expression led to MET in aggressive breast cancer cells. These results suggest for the first time that PGI/AMF is a key gene to both EMT in the initiating step of cancer metastasis and MET in the later stage of metastasis during breast cancer progression.

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