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Xia H.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | Xia H.,University of Hong Kong | Cheung W.K.C.,University of Hong Kong | Sze J.,University of Hong Kong | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2010

The emerging concept of generating cancer stem cells from epithelial-mesenchymal transition has attracted great interest; however, the factors and molecular mechanisms that govern this putative tumor-initiating process remain largely elusive. We report here that miR-200a not only regulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition but also stem-like transition in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. We first showed that stable knockdown of miR-200a promotes the transition of epithelium-like CNE-1 cells to the mesenchymal phenotype. More importantly, it also induced several stem cell-like traits, including CD133+ side population, sphere formation capacity, in vivo tumorigenicity in nude mice, and stem cell marker expression. Consistently, stable overexpression of miR-200a switched mesenchyme-like C666-1 cells to the epithelial state, accompanied by a significant reduction of stem-like cell features. Furthermore, in vitro differentiation of the C666-1 tumor sphere resulted in diminished stem-like cell population and miR-200a induction. To investigate the molecular mechanism, we demonstrated that miR-200a controls epithelial-mesenchymal transition by targeting ZEB2, although it regulates the stem-like transition differentially and specifically by β-catenin signaling. Our findings reveal for the first time the function of miR-200a in shifting nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell states via a reversible process coined as epithelial-mesenchymal to stem-like transition through differential and specific mechanisms. © 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

Hu Q.-P.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Kuang J.-Y.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Yang Q.-K.,Dalian Medical University | Bian X.-W.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Yu S.-C.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center
International Journal of Cancer | Year: 2016

E-cadherin (E-cad) plays important roles in tumorigenesis as well as in tumor progression, invasion and metastasis. This protein exists in two forms: a membrane-tethered form and a soluble form. Full-length E-cad is membrane tethered. As a type I transmembrane glycoprotein, E-cad mainly mediates adherens junctions between cells and is involved in maintaining the normal structure of epithelial tissues. Soluble E-cad (sE-cad) is the extracellular fragment of the protein that is cleaved from the membrane after proteolysis of full-length E-cad. The production of sE-cad undermines adherens junctions, causing a reduction in cell aggregation capacity; furthermore, sE-cad can diffuse into the extracellular environment and the blood. As a paracrine/autocrine signaling molecule, sE-cad activates or inhibits multiple signaling pathways and participates in the progression of various types of cancer, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer, by promoting invasion and metastasis. This article briefly reviews the role of sE-cad in tumorigenesis and tumor progression and its significance in clinical therapeutics. © 2015 UICC.

Xia H.,Chinese University of Hong Kong | Xia H.,University of Hong Kong | Xia H.,Sun Yat Sen University | Cheung W.K.C.,University of Hong Kong | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2012

miR-124 is a brain-enriched microRNA that plays a crucial role in neural development and has been shown to be down-regulated in glioma and medulloblastoma, suggesting its possible involvement in brain tumor progression. Here, we show that miR-124 is down-regulated in a panel of different grades of glioma tissues and in all of the human glioma cell lines we examined. By integrated bioinformatics analysis and experimental confirmation, we identified SNAI2, which is often up-regulated in glioma, as a direct functional target of miR-124. Because SNAI2 has been shown to regulate stem cell functions, we examined the roles of miR-124 and SNAI2 in glioma cell stem-like traits. The results showed that overexpression of miR-124 and knockdown of SNAI2 reduced neurosphere formation, CD133 + cell subpopulation, and stem cell marker (BMI1, Nanog, and Nestin) expression, and these effects could be rescued by re-expression of SNAI2. Furthermore, enhanced miR-124 expression significantly inhibited glioma cell invasion in vitro. Finally, stable overexpression of miR-124 and knockdown of SNAI2 inhibited the tumorigenicity and invasion of glioma cells in vivo. These findings reveal, for the first time, that the tumor suppressor activity of miR-124 could be partly due to its inhibitory effects on glioma stem-like traits and invasiveness through SNAI2. © 2012 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

Duan J.-J.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Cai J.,Third Brigade | Guo Y.-F.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Bian X.-W.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Yu S.-C.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center
International Journal of Cancer | Year: 2016

Metabolism reprogramming has been linked with the initiation, metastasis, and recurrence of cancer. The aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) family is the most important enzyme system for aldehyde metabolism. The human ALDH family is composed of 19 members. ALDH1A3 participates in various physiological processes in human cells by oxidizing all-trans-retinal to retinoic acid. ALDH1A3 expression is regulated by many factors, and it is associated with the development, progression, and prognosis of cancers. In addition, ALDH1A3 influences a diverse range of biological characteristics within cancer stem cells and can act as a marker for these cells. Thus, growing evidence indicates that ALDH1A3 has the potential to be used as a target for cancer diagnosis and therapy. © 2016 UICC.

Liu L.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Chen X.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Cheng J.,Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center | Zhang H.,Institute of Urology Surgery | And 5 more authors.
Hepatology | Year: 2016

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly aggressive liver tumor containing cancer stem cells (CSCs) that participate in tumor propagation, resistance to conventional therapy, and promotion of tumor recurrence, causing poor patient outcomes. The protein SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 9 (Sox9) is a transcription factor expressed in some solid tumors, including HCC. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying Sox9 function in liver CSCs remain unclear. Here, we show that Sox9 is highly expressed in liver CSCs and that high levels of Sox9 predict a decreased probability of survival in HCC patients. We demonstrate that Sox9 is required for maintaining proliferation, self-renewal, and tumorigenicity in liver CSCs. Overexpression of exogenous Sox9 in liver non-CSCs restored self-renewal capacity. Additionally, a reduction in the asymmetrical cell division of spheroid-cultured liver CSCs was observed when compared with differentiated cancer cells or liver CSCs with inhibited Notch signaling. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Sox9 is responsible for the asymmetrical-to-symmetrical cell division switch in liver CSCs. Sox9 also negatively regulates Numb expression, contributing to a feedback circuit that maintains Notch activity and directs symmetrical cell division. Clinical analyses revealed that the Sox9HighNumbLow profile is associated with poor prognosis in human HCC patients. Conclusion: We demonstrate that Sox9 plays a critical role in self-renewal and tumor propagation of liver CSCs and identify the molecular mechanisms regulated by Sox9 that link tumor initiation and cell division. © 2016 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

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