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J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 29;288(13):9001-10. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.437897. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

Secreted heat shock protein 90α (HSP90α) induces nuclear factor-κB-mediated TCF12 protein expression to down-regulate E-cadherin and to enhance colorectal cancer cell migration and invasion.

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Divisions of Experimental Surgery and Colorectal Surgery, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and Department of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan.


Secreted levels of HSP90α and overexpression of TCF12 have been associated with the enhancement of colorectal cancer (CRC) cell migration and invasion. In this study, we observed that CRC patients with tumor TCF12 overexpression exhibited both a higher rate of metastatic occurrence and a higher average serum HSP90α level compared with patients without TCF12 overexpression. Therefore, we studied the relationship between the actions of secreted HSP90α and TCF12. Like overexpressed TCF12, secreted HSP90α or recombinant HSP90α (rHSP90α) induced fibronectin expression and repressed E-cadherin, connexin-26, connexin-43, and gap junction levels in CRC cells. Consistently, rHSP90α stimulated invasive outgrowths of CRC cells from spherical structures during three-dimensional culture. rHSP90α also induced TCF12 expression in CRC cells. Its effects on CRC cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition, migration, and invasion were drastically prevented when TCF12 was knocked down. This suggests that TCF12 expression is required for secreted HSP90α to enhance CRC cell spreading. Through the cellular receptor CD91, rHSP90α facilitated the complex formation of CD91 with IκB kinases (IKKs) α and β and increased the levels of phosphorylated (active) IKKα/β and NF-κB. Use of an IKKα/β inhibitor or ectopic overexpression of dominant-negative IκBα efficiently repressed rHSP90α-induced TCF12 expression. Moreover, κB motifs were recognized in the gene sequence of the TCF12 promoter, and a physical association between NF-κB and the TCF12 promoter was detected in rHSP90α-treated CRC cells. Together, these results suggest that the CD91/IKK/NF-κB signaling cascade is involved in secreted HSP90α-induced TCF12 expression, leading to E-cadherin down-regulation and enhanced CRC cell migration/invasion.

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