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Cancer Res. 2012 Jul 1;72(13):3238-50. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3832. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

DEDD interacts with PI3KC3 to activate autophagy and attenuate epithelial-mesenchymal transition in human breast cancer.

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Molecular Immunology and Cancer Pharmacology Groups, State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substance and Function of Natural Medicines, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, PR China.


Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a crucial developmental program, contributes to cancer invasion and metastasis. In this study, we show that death-effector domain-containing DNA-binding protein (DEDD) attenuates EMT and acts as an endogenous suppressor of tumor growth and metastasis. We found that expression levels of DEDD were conversely correlated with poor prognosis in patients with breast and colon cancer. Both in vitro and in vivo, overexpression of DEDD attenuated the invasive phenotype of highly metastatic cells, whereas silencing of DEDD promoted the invasion of nonmetastatic cells. Via direct interaction with the class III PI-3-kinase (PI3KC3)/Beclin1, DEDD activated autophagy and induced the degradation of Snail and Twist, two master regulators of EMT. The DEDD-PI3KC3 interaction led to stabilization of PI3KC3, which further contributed to autophagy and the degradation of Snail and Twist. Together, our findings highlight a novel mechanism in which the intracellular signaling protein DEDD functions as an endogenous tumor suppressor. DEDD expression therefore may represent a prognostic marker and potential therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of cancer metastasis.

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