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Breast Cancer Res. 2013 Jun 20;15(3):R49. doi: 10.1186/bcr3441.

Cyclin D1 cooperates with p21 to regulate TGFβ-mediated breast cancer cell migration and tumor local invasion.



Deregulation of the cell cycle machinery is often found in human cancers. Modulations in the cell cycle regulator function and expression result not only in proliferative advantages, but also lead to tumor progression and invasiveness of the cancer. In particular, cyclin D1 and p21 are often over-expressed in human cancers, correlating with high tumor grade, poor prognosis and increased metastasis. This prompted us to investigate the role of the cyclin D1/p21 signaling axis downstream of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) in breast cancer progression.


Cyclins mRNA and protein expressions were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot in triple negative breast cancer cell lines. Co-localization and interaction between cyclin D1 and p21 were performed by immunocytochemistry and co-immunoprecipitation, respectively. Cell migration was assessed by wound healing and quantitative time-lapse imaging assays. In addition, the effects of cyclin D1 on cellular structure and actin organization were examined by staining with F-actin marker phalloidin and mesenchymal intermediate filament vimentin. Finally, a mammary fat pad xenograft mouse model was used to assess mammary tumor growth and local invasion.


We found TGFβ to specifically up-regulate the expression of cyclin D1 in triple negative breast cancer cells. Induction of cyclin D1 is also required for TGFβ-mediated cell migration. Suppression of cyclin D1 expression not only resulted in a rounded and epithelial-like phenotype, but also prevented TGFβ-induced vimentin and F-actin co-localization at the cell edge as well as invadopodia formation. Furthermore, TGFβ promoted the nuclear co-localization and physical interaction between cyclin D1 and p21. The co-expression of cyclin D1 and p21 proteins are required for the initial steps of tumor development, as double knockdown of these two molecules prevented primary tumor formation in a Xenograft mouse model. Moreover, the in vivo studies indicated that locally advanced features of the invasive tumors, including skeletal muscle, mammary fat pad and lymphovascular invasion, as well as ulcerated skin, were attenuated in the absence of cyclin D1 and p21.


Thus, our findings highlight the cyclin D1/p21 signaling axis as a critical regulator of TGFβ-mediated tumor growth initiation and local tumor cell invasion, both in vitro and in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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