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Oncol Rep. 2015 Aug;34(2):1011-6. doi: 10.3892/or.2015.4040. Epub 2015 Jun 8.

Myeloid cell leukemia-1 promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of human gastric cancer cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 501-190, Republic of Korea.


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a critical process that occurs during cancer progression, and cancer stem cells have been shown to acquire the EMT phenotype. Myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) has been implicated in cancer progression and is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers. However, the interaction between Mcl-1 and EMT in human gastric cancer (GC) is unclear. We investigated the impact of Mcl-1 expression levels on EMT and the underlying signaling pathways in human GC cells. We used the human GC cell lines, AGS and SNU638, and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to evaluate the effects of Mcl-1 knockdown on cell adhesion, migration and invasion. Expression of Mcl-1 and other target genes was determined using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays and western blotting. The results revealed that expression levels of Mcl-1 mRNA and protein in the AGS and SNU638 cells were reduced following transfection with Mcl-1 siRNAs. Knockdown of Mcl-1 led to increased cellular adhesion to fibronectin and collagen. Expression levels of vimentin, MMP-2, MMP-9 and Snail protein were decreased following knockdown of Mcl-1. However, expression of E-cadherin was increased in the AGS cells following knockdown of Mcl-1. The expression of cancer stemness markers, such as CD44 and CD133, was not altered by knockdown of Mcl-1. Knockdown of Mcl-1 suppressed tumor cell migration and invasion in both human GC cell lines. Signaling cascades, including the β-catenin, MEK1/2, ERK1/2 and p38 pathways, were significantly blocked by knockdown of Mcl-1. Our results indicate that Mcl-1 expression induces EMT via β-catenin, MEK1/2 and MAPK signaling pathways, which subsequently stimulates the invasive and migratory capacity of human GC cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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