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Oncogene. 2013 Aug 1;32(31):3598-605. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.371. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

Decreased eIF3e/Int6 expression causes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast epithelial cells.

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Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, Hôtel-Dieu Pavilion, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


eIF3e/Int6 is a component of the multi-subunit eIF3 complex, which binds directly to the 40S ribosome to facilitate ribosome recruitment to mRNA and hence protein synthesis. Reduced expression of eIF3e/Int6 has been found in up to 37% of human breast cancers, and expression of a truncated mutant version of the mouse eIF3e/Int6 protein leads to malignant transformation of normal mammary cells. These findings suggest that eIF3e/Int6 is a tumor suppressor; however, a recent study has reported that a reduction of eIF3e/Int6 expression in breast cancer cells leads to reduced translation of oncogenes, suggesting that eIF3e/Int6 may in fact have an oncogenic role in breast cancer. To gain a better understanding of the role of eIF3e/Int6 in breast cancer, we have examined the effects of decreased eIF3e/Int6 expression in an immortalized breast epithelial cell line, MCF-10A. Surprisingly, we find that decreased expression of eIF3e/Int6 causes breast epithelial cells to undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We show that EMT induced by a decrease in eIF3e/Int6 expression imparts invasive and migratory properties to breast epithelial cells, suggesting that regulation of EMT by eIF3e/Int6 may have an important role in breast cancer metastasis. Furthermore, we show that reduced eIF3e/Int6 expression in breast epithelial cells causes a specific increase in the expression of the key EMT regulators Snail1 and Zeb2, which occurs at both the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Together, our data indicate a novel role of eIF3e/Int6 in the regulation of EMT in breast epithelial cells and support a tumor suppressor role of eIF3e/Int6.

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