Gene Summary

Gene:ITGA6; integrin, alpha 6
Aliases: CD49f, VLA-6, ITGA6B
Summary:The ITGA6 protein product is the integrin alpha chain alpha 6. Integrins are integral cell-surface proteins composed of an alpha chain and a beta chain. A given chain may combine with multiple partners resulting in different integrins. For example, alpha 6 may combine with beta 4 in the integrin referred to as TSP180, or with beta 1 in the integrin VLA-6. Integrins are known to participate in cell adhesion as well as cell-surface mediated signalling. Two transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:integrin alpha-6
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (32)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (6)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Down-Regulation
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay
  • Cell Adhesion
  • beta Catenin
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genotype
  • Up-Regulation
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Breast Cancer
  • Transfection
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Laminin
  • Integrin alpha6
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Tumor Markers
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Liver Cancer
  • Integrin beta4
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Disease Progression
  • Skin Cancer
  • Valproic Acid
  • MicroRNAs
  • Chromosome 2
  • siRNA
  • RNA Interference
  • Cell Movement
  • Integrins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Western Blotting
  • Binding Sites
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Young Adult
  • Tumor Burden
  • Promoter Regions
Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ITGA6 (cancer-related)

Chang C, Goel HL, Gao H, et al.
A laminin 511 matrix is regulated by TAZ and functions as the ligand for the α6Bβ1 integrin to sustain breast cancer stem cells.
Genes Dev. 2015; 29(1):1-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Understanding how the extracellular matrix impacts the function of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is a significant but poorly understood problem. We report that breast CSCs produce a laminin (LM) 511 matrix that promotes self-renewal and tumor initiation by engaging the α6Bβ1 integrin and activating the Hippo transducer TAZ. Although TAZ is important for the function of breast CSCs, the mechanism is unknown. We observed that TAZ regulates the transcription of the α5 subunit of LM511 and the formation of a LM511 matrix. These data establish a positive feedback loop involving TAZ and LM511 that contributes to stemness in breast cancer.

Song X, Zhong H, Zhou J, et al.
Association between polymorphisms of microRNA-binding sites in integrin genes and gastric cancer in Chinese Han population.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(4):2785-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Highly elevated expression of integrin has been observed in a variety of malignant tumors. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the microRNA-binding sites in the 3' UTR region of target genes may result in the level change of target gene expression and subsequently susceptible to diseases, including cancer. In this study, we aimed to investigate the association between polymorphisms of microRNA-binding sites of integrin genes and gastric cancer (GC) in Chinese Han population. Five SNPs of the microRNA-binding sites in the 3' UTR region of integrin genes (rs1062484 C/T in ITGA3, rs17664 A/G in ITGA6, rs3809865 A/T in ITGB3, rs743554 C/T in ITGB4, and rs2675 A/C in ITGB5) were studied using high resolution melting (HRM) analysis in 1000 GC patients and 1000 unrelated controls. The polymorphism of SNP rs2675 was associated with susceptibility of GC [odds ratio (OR) = 0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.28-0.97, P = 0.028]. In addition, genotype AA of rs2675 and genotype GG of rs17664 were associated with a lower chance of GC at stage 1b [OR = 0.39 (0.18-0.85), P = 0.009; and OR = 0.37 (0.17-0.78), P = 0.004, respectively]; also, the frequency of allele G of rs17664 was associated with a lower chance of stage 1b tumor [OR = 0.50 (0.26-0.95), P = 0.021]. Furthermore, the frequency of genotype AA and allele A of rs3809865 were associated with a higher risk of stage 4 GC [OR = 1.85 (1.11-3.09), P = 0.012; and OR = 1.52 (0.99-2.33), P = 0.043, respectively]. For rs17664, GG genotype and allele G appeared to be associated with a higher risk with GC with lymphatic metastasis 3b [OR = 1.76 (1.00-3.11), P = 0.036; and OR = 1.64 (0.98-2.75), P = 0.048, respectively]. Our data suggest that polymorphisms of the microRNA-binding sites in the 3' UTR region of integrin are associated with GC susceptibility (rs2675), tumor stage (rs2675, rs17664, and rs3809865), and lymphatic metastasis (rs17664) in Chinese Han population.

Kacsinta AD, Rubenstein CS, Sroka IC, et al.
Intracellular modifiers of integrin alpha 6p production in aggressive prostate and breast cancer cell lines.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 454(2):335-40 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/11/2015 Related Publications
Cancer metastasis is a multi-step process in which tumor cells gain the ability to invade beyond the primary tumor and colonize distant sites. The mechanisms regulating the metastatic process confer changes to cell adhesion receptors including the integrin family of receptors. Our group previously discovered that the α6 integrin (ITGA6/CD49f) is post translationally modified by urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor, urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), to form the variant ITGA6p. This variant of ITGA6 is a cleaved form of the receptor that lacks the ligand-binding domain. Although it is established that the uPA/uPAR axis drives ITGA6 cleavage, the mechanisms regulating cleavage have not been defined. Intracellular integrin dependent "inside-out" signaling is a major regulator of integrin function and the uPA/uPAR axis. We hypothesized that intracellular signaling molecules play a role in formation of ITGA6p to promote cell migration during cancer metastasis. In order to test our hypothesis, DU145 and PC3B1 prostate cancer and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines were treated with small interfering RNA targeting actin and the intracellular signaling regulators focal adhesion kinase (FAK), integrin linked kinase (ILK), and paxillin. The results demonstrated that inhibition of actin, FAK, and ILK expression resulted in significantly increased uPAR expression and ITGA6p production. Inhibition of actin increased ITGA6p, although inhibition of paxillin did not affect ITGA6p formation. Taken together, these results suggest that FAK and ILK dependent "inside-out" signaling, and actin dynamics regulate extracellular production of ITGA6p and the aggressive phenotype.

Machida K, Feldman DE, Tsukamoto H
TLR4-dependent tumor-initiating stem cell-like cells (TICs) in alcohol-associated hepatocellular carcinogenesis.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015; 815:131-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Alcohol abuse predisposes individuals to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and synergistically heightens the HCC risk in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). The mechanisms of this synergism have been elusive until our recent demonstration of the obligatory role of ectopically expressed TLR4 in liver tumorigenesis in alcohol-fed HCV Ns5a or Core transgenic mice. CD133+/CD49f+ tumor-initiating stem cell-like cells (TICs) isolated from these models are tumorigenic in a manner dependent on TLR4 and NANOG. TICs' tumor-initiating activity and chemoresistance are causally associated with inhibition of TGF-β tumor suppressor pathway due to NANOG-mediated expression of IGF2BP3 and YAP1. TLR4/NANOG activation causes p53 degradation via phosphorylation of the protective protein NUMB and its dissociation from p53 by the oncoprotein TBC1D15. Nutrient deprivation reduces overexpressed TBC1D15 in TICs via autophagy-mediated degradation, suggesting a possible role of this oncoprotein in linking metabolic reprogramming and self-renewal.

Zubor P, Hatok J, Moricova P, et al.
Gene expression profiling of histologically normal breast tissue in females with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2‑positive breast cancer.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 11(2):1421-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene expression profile‑based taxonomy of breast cancer (BC) has been described as a significant breakthrough in comprehending the differences in the origin and behavior of cancer to allow individually tailored therapeutic approaches. In line with this, we hypothesized that the gene expression profile of histologically normal epithelium (HNEpi) could harbor certain genetic abnormalities predisposing breast tissue cells to develop human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)‑positive BC. Thus, the aim of the present study was to assess gene expression in normal and BC tissue (BCTis) from patients with BC in order to establish its value as a potential diagnostic marker for cancer development. An array study evaluating a panel of 84 pathway‑ and disease‑specific genes in HER2‑positive BC and tumor‑adjacent HNEpi was performed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction in 12 patients using microdissected samples from frozen tissue. Common prognostic and predictive parameters of BC were assessed by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. In the BCTis and HNEpi samples of 12 HER2‑positive subjects with BC, the expression of 2,016 genes was assessed. A total of 39.3% of genes were deregulated at a minimal two‑fold deregulation rate and 10.7% at a five‑fold deregulation rate in samples of HNEpi or BCTis. Significant differences in gene expression between BCTis and HNEpi samples were revealed for BCL2L2, CD44, CTSD, EGFR, ERBB2, ITGA6, NGFB, RPL27, SCBG2A1 and SCGB1D2 genes (P<0.05), as well as GSN, KIT, KLK5, SERPINB5 and STC2 genes (P<0.01). Insignificant differences (P<0.07) were observed for CCNA1, CLU, DLC1, GABRP and IL6 genes. The ontological gene analyses revealed that the majority of the deregulated genes in the HNEpi samples were part of the functional gene group directly associated with BC origin and prognosis. Functional analysis showed that the most frequent gene deregulations occurred in genes associated with apoptosis and cell cycle regulation in BCTis samples, and with angiogenesis, regulation of the cell cycle and transcriptional activity in HNEpi samples. The molecular profiling of HNEpi breast tissue revealed gene expression abnormalities that may represent potential markers of increased risk for HER2‑positive malignant transformation of breast tissue, and may be able to be employed as predictors of prognosis.

Ying M, Tilghman J, Wei Y, et al.
Kruppel-like factor-9 (KLF9) inhibits glioblastoma stemness through global transcription repression and integrin α6 inhibition.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(47):32742-56 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
It is increasingly important to understand the molecular basis for the plasticity of neoplastic cells and their capacity to transition between differentiated and stemlike phenotypes. Kruppel-like factor-9 (KLF9), a member of the large KLF transcription factor family, has emerged as a regulator of oncogenesis, cell differentiation, and neural development; however, the molecular basis for the diverse contextual functions of KLF9 remains unclear. This study focused on the functions of KLF9 in human glioblastoma stemlike cells. We established for the first time a genome-wide map of KLF9-regulated targets in human glioblastoma stemlike cells and show that KLF9 functions as a transcriptional repressor and thereby regulates multiple signaling pathways involved in oncogenesis and stem cell regulation. A detailed analysis of one such pathway, integrin signaling, showed that the capacity of KLF9 to inhibit glioblastoma cell stemness and tumorigenicity requires ITGA6 repression. These findings enhance our understanding of the transcriptional networks underlying cancer cell stemness and differentiation and identify KLF9-regulated molecular targets applicable to cancer therapeutics.

Schillace RV, Skinner AM, Pommier RF, et al.
Estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 are variable in breast cancer and benign stem/progenitor cell populations.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:733 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Estrogen receptor positive breast cancers have high recurrence rates despite tamoxifen therapy. Breast cancer stem/progenitor cells (BCSCs) initiate tumors, but expression of estrogen (ER) or progesterone receptors (PR) and response to tamoxifen is unknown. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) may influence tumor response to therapy but expression in BCSCs is also unknown.
METHODS: BCSCs were isolated from breast cancer and benign surgical specimens based on CD49f/CD24 markers. CD44 was measured. Gene and protein expression of ER alpha, ER beta, PR, IL-6 and IL-8 were measured by proximity ligation assay and qRT-PCR.
RESULTS: Gene expression was highly variable between patients. On average, BCSCs expressed 10-106 fold less ERα mRNA and 10-103 fold more ERβ than tumors or benign stem/progenitor cells (SC). BCSC lin-CD49f-CD24-cells were the exception and expressed higher ERα mRNA. PR mRNA in BCSCs averaged 10-104 fold less than in tumors or benign tissue, but was similar to benign SCs. ERα and PR protein detection in BCSCs was lower than ER positive and similar to ER negative tumors. IL-8 mRNA was 10-104 higher than tumor and 102 fold higher than benign tissue. IL-6 mRNA levels were equivalent to benign and only higher than tumor in lin-CD49f-CD24-cells. IL-6 and IL-8 proteins showed overlapping levels of expressions among various tissues and cell populations.
CONCLUSIONS: BCSCs and SCs demonstrate patient-specific variability of gene/protein expression. BCSC gene/protein expression may vary from that of other tumor cells, suggesting a mechanism by which hormone refractory disease may occur.

Leccia F, Del Vecchio L, Mariotti E, et al.
ABCG2, a novel antigen to sort luminal progenitors of BRCA1- breast cancer cells.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:213 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Tumor-initiating cells (TICs), aka "cancer stem cells", are believed to fuel tumors and to sustain therapy resistance and systemic metastasis. Breast cancer is the first human carcinoma in which a subpopulation of cells displaying a specific CD44+/CD24-/low/ESA+ antigenic phenotype was found to have TIC properties. However, CD44+/CD24-/low/ESA+ is not a universal marker phenotype of TICs in all breast cancer subtypes. The aim of this study was to identify novel antigens with which to isolate the TIC population of the basal-A/basal-like breast cancer cell lines.
METHODS: We used polychromatic flow-cytometry to characterize the cell surface of several breast cancer cell lines that may represent different tumor molecular subtypes. We next used fluorescence-activated cell sorting to isolate the cell subpopulations of interest from the cell lines. Finally, we explored the stem-like and tumorigenic properties of the sorted cell subpopulations using complementary in vitro and in vivo approaches: mammosphere formation assays, soft-agar colony assays, and tumorigenic assays in NOD/SCID mice.
RESULTS: The CD44+/CD24+ subpopulation of the BRCA1-mutated basal-A/basal-like cell line HCC1937 is enriched in several stemness markers, including the ABCG2 transporter (i.e., the CD338 antigen). Consistently, CD338-expressing cells were also enriched in CD24 expression, suggesting that coexpression of these two antigenic markers may segregate TICs in this cell line. In support of ABCG2 expression in TICs, culturing of HCC1937 cells in ultra-low adherent conditions to enrich them in precursor/stem-cells resulted in an increase in CD338-expressing cells. Furthermore, CD338-expressing cells, unlike their CD338-negative counterparts, displayed stemness and transformation potential, as assessed in mammosphere and colony formation assays. Lastly, CD338-expressing cells cultured in ultra-low adherent conditions maintained the expression of CD326/EpCAM and CD49f/α6-integrin, which is a combination of antigens previously assigned to luminal progenitors.
CONCLUSION: Collectively, our data suggest that CD338 expression is specific to the tumor-initiating luminal progenitor subpopulation of BRCA1-mutated cells and is a novel antigen with which to sort this subpopulation.

Bouvard C, Segaoula Z, De Arcangelis A, et al.
Tie2-dependent deletion of α6 integrin subunit in mice reduces tumor growth and angiogenesis.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(5):2058-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
The α6 integrin subunit (α6) has been implicated in cancer cell migration and in the progression of several malignancies, but its role in tumor angiogenesis is unclear. In mice, anti-α6 blocking antibodies reduce tumor angiogenesis, whereas Tie1-dependent α6 gene deletion enhances neovessel formation in melanoma and lung carcinoma. To clarify the discrepancy in these results we used the cre-lox system to generate a mouse line, α6fl/fl‑Tie2Cre(+), with α6 gene deletion specifically in Tie2-lineage cells: endothelial cells, pericytes, subsets of hematopoietic stem cells, and Tie2-expressing monocytes/macrophages (TEMs), known for their proangiogenic properties. Loss of α6 expression in α6fl/fl‑Tie2Cre(+) mice reduced tumor growth in a murine B16F10 melanoma model. Immunohistological analysis of the tumors showed that Tie2-dependent α6 gene deletion was associated with reduced tumor vascularization and with reduced infiltration of proangiogenic Tie2-expressing macrophages. These findings demonstrate that α6 integrin subunit plays a major role in tumor angiogenesis and TEM infiltration. Targeting α6 could be used as a strategy to reduce tumor growth.

Klahan S, Wu MS, Hsi E, et al.
Computational analysis of mRNA expression profiles identifies the ITG family and PIK3R3 as crucial genes for regulating triple negative breast cancer cell migration.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:536591 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive type of breast cancer that does not express estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor (Her2/neu). TNBC has worse clinical outcomes than other breast cancer subtypes. However, the key molecules and mechanisms of TNBC migration remain unclear. In this study, we compared two normalized microarray datasets from GEO database between Asian (GSE33926) and non-Asian populations (GSE46581) to determine the molecules and common pathways in TNBC migration. We demonstrated that 16 genes in non-Asian samples and 9 genes in Asian samples are related to TNBC migration. In addition, our analytic results showed that 4 genes, PIK3R3, ITGB1, ITGAL, and ITGA6, were involved in the regulation of actin cytoskeleton. Our results indicated potential genes that link to TNBC migration. This study may help identify novel therapeutic targets for drug development in cancer therapy.

Jung K, Wu F, Wang P, et al.
YB-1 regulates Sox2 to coordinately sustain stemness and tumorigenic properties in a phenotypically distinct subset of breast cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:328 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sox2, a transcription factor and an embryonic stem cell marker, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of breast cancer (BC). YB-1 is another transcription factor that has been shown to promote stemness in BC cells.
METHODS: Western blotting, quantitative PCR, and siRNAs were used to query the regulatory relationships between YB-1, Sox2, and their downstream targets. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was used to detect YB-1 interactions at the Sox2 promoter. Mammosphere and soft agar assays were used to assess the phenotypic consequences of YB-1 knockdown.
RESULTS: Here, we report that YB-1 regulates Sox2. YB-1 was found to bind to the SOX2 promoter and down-regulate its expression in MCF7 and ZR751. The regulatory interaction between YB-1 and Sox2 was drastically different between the two phenotypically distinct cell subsets, purified based on their differential response to a Sox2 reporter. They are referred to as the reporter unresponsive (RU) cells and the reporter responsive (RR) cells. Upon siRNA knockdown of YB-1, RU cells showed an increase in Sox2 expression but no change in Sox2 reporter activity; in contrast, RR cells exhibited increased expression and reporter activity of Sox2. Correlating with these findings, YB-1 knockdown induced a differential response in the expression of genes known to be regulated by both Sox2 and YB-1 (e.g. CCND1 and ITGA6). For instance, in response to YB-1 knockdown, CCND1 and ITGA6 expression were decreased or unchanged in RU cells but paradoxically increased in RR cells. Compared to RU cells, RR cells were significantly more resistant to the suppression of mammosphere formation due to YB-1 knockdown. Importantly, mammospheres derived from parental MCF7 cells treated with YB-1 siRNA knockdown exhibited higher expression levels of SOX2 and its downstream targets.
CONCLUSIONS: To conclude, in a subset of BC cells, namely RR cells, YB-1 regulates Sox2 to coordinately maintain stemness and tumorigenic properties.

Zhang S, Chung WC, Wu G, et al.
Tumor-suppressive activity of Lunatic Fringe in prostate through differential modulation of Notch receptor activation.
Neoplasia. 2014; 16(2):158-67 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Elevated Notch ligand and receptor expression has been associated with aggressive forms of prostate cancer, suggesting a role for Notch signaling in regulation of prostate tumor initiation and progression. Here, we report a critical role for Lunatic Fringe (Lfng), which encodes an O-fucosylpeptide 3-ß-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase known to modify epidermal growth factor repeats of Notch receptor proteins, in regulation of prostate epithelial differentiation and proliferation, as well as in prostate tumor suppression. Deletion of Lfng in mice caused altered Notch activation in the prostate, associated with elevated accumulation of Notch1, Notch2, and Notch4 intracellular domains, decreased levels of the putative Notch3 intracellular fragment, as well as increased expression of Hes1, Hes5, and Hey2. Loss of Lfng resulted in expansion of the basal layer, increased proliferation of both luminal and basal cells, and ultimately, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. The Lfng-null prostate showed down-regulation of prostatic tumor suppressor gene NKX3.1 and increased androgen receptor expression. Interestingly, expression of LFNG and NKX3.1 were positively correlated in publically available human prostate cancer data sets. Knockdown of LFNG in DU-145 prostate cancer cells led to expansion of CD44(+)CD24(-) and CD49f(+)CD24(-) stem/progenitor-like cell population associated with enhanced prostatosphere-forming capacity. Taken together, these data revealed a tumor-suppressive role for Lfng in the prostate through differential regulation of Notch signaling.

Choi H, Kim M, Ahn SI, et al.
Regulation of pigmentation by substrate elasticity in normal human melanocytes and melanotic MNT1 human melanoma cells.
Exp Dermatol. 2014; 23(3):172-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The elasticity of the cellular microenvironment is a key regulator of cellular physiology in many cell types. To investigate the effects of substrate stiffness on the pigmentation process, we cultured normal human melanocytes (NHM) and MNT1 melanoma cells on laminin-coated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates of different stiffness. The dendricity of NHM and MNT1 cells was reduced as the substrate stiffness decreased, and the degree of melanosome transfer from NHM or MNT1 cells to normal human keratinocytes was decreased on softer substrates with the reduced dendricity. Gene and protein expressions of MITF, tyrosinase, TRP2, and gp100/PMEL17 exhibited a consistent decreasing trend with the decreasing stiffness. Because the stiffness sensing is mediated by focal adhesion complex through integrin receptors, we checked laminin specific integrin alpha 6 and p-FAK for MNT1 cells to observe that the substrate adhesion was weakened as the substrate stiffness decreased. Weaker adhesion on a softer substrate was accompanied by dynamic shape changes in MNT1 cells with higher speed and larger scattering. Dendritic MNT1 cells cultured on a stiffer substrate exhibited lower migration with smaller root mean squared displacement. These results demonstrate the possibility that skin pigmentation can be influenced by mechanical properties of the cellular microenvironment and can increase when the skin becomes stiff.

Bernardes N, Ribeiro AS, Abreu S, et al.
High-throughput molecular profiling of a P-cadherin overexpressing breast cancer model reveals new targets for the anti-cancer bacterial protein azurin.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014; 50:1-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Azurin is a bacterial protein from Pseudomonas aeruginosa which exerts an inhibitory activity in cancer cells. In P-cadherin-overexpressing models, a bad prognosis marker in breast cancer increasing invasion and other malignant features, azurin decreases the invasion of cancer cells. We performed a microarray analysis to compare the expression profile of azurin treated cells with different P-cadherin expression levels. Azurin up-regulated apoptosis mediated by p53 protein, endocytosis and vesicle-mediated transport. In the contrary, in invasive MCF-7/AZ.Pcad cells, azurin decreased the expression of genes associated with cell surface receptors and signal transduction, as well as biological adhesion. Further, azurin decreased adhesion of cells to proteins from the extracellular matrix (ECM) and altered protein expression of integrins α6, β4 and β1 and interfered with the ability of these cells to form mammospheres. Altogether, our results further enlighten the anti-cancer effects mediated by azurin in P-cadherin overexpression breast cancer models.

Hensley PJ, Desiniotis A, Wang C, et al.
Novel pharmacologic targeting of tight junctions and focal adhesions in prostate cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e86238 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Cancer cell resistance to anoikis driven by aberrant signaling sustained by the tumor microenvironment confers high invasive potential and therapeutic resistance. We recently generated a novel lead quinazoline-based Doxazosin® derivative, DZ-50, which impairs tumor growth and metastasis via anoikis. Genome-wide analysis in the human prostate cancer cell line DU-145 identified primary downregulated targets of DZ-50, including genes involved in focal adhesion integrity (fibronectin, integrin-α6 and talin), tight junction formation (claudin-11) as well as insulin growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) and the angiogenesis modulator thrombospondin 1 (TSP-1). Confocal microscopy demonstrated structural disruption of both focal adhesions and tight junctions by the downregulation of these gene targets, resulting in decreased cell survival, migration and adhesion to extracellular matrix (ECM) components in two androgen-independent human prostate cancer cell lines, PC-3 and DU-145. Stabilization of cell-ECM interactions by overexpression of talin-1 and/or exposing cells to a fibronectin-rich environment mitigated the effect of DZ-50. Loss of expression of the intracellular focal adhesion signaling effectors talin-1 and integrin linked kinase (ILK) sensitized human prostate cancer to anoikis. Our findings suggest that DZ-50 exerts its antitumor effect by targeting the key functional intercellular interactions, focal adhesions and tight junctions, supporting the therapeutic significance of this agent for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

Cyr AR, Kulak MV, Park JM, et al.
TFAP2C governs the luminal epithelial phenotype in mammary development and carcinogenesis.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(4):436-44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Molecular subtypes of breast cancer are characterized by distinct patterns of gene expression that are predictive of outcome and response to therapy. The luminal breast cancer subtypes are defined by the expression of estrogen receptor-alpha (ERα)-associated genes, many of which are directly responsive to the transcription factor activator protein 2C (TFAP2C). TFAP2C participates in a gene regulatory network controlling cell growth and differentiation during ectodermal development and regulating ESR1/ERα and other luminal cell-associated genes in breast cancer. TFAP2C has been established as a prognostic factor in human breast cancer, however, its role in the establishment and maintenance of the luminal cell phenotype during carcinogenesis and mammary gland development have remained elusive. Herein, we demonstrate a critical role for TFAP2C in maintaining the luminal phenotype in human breast cancer and in influencing the luminal cell phenotype during normal mammary development. Knockdown of TFAP2C in luminal breast carcinoma cells induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition with morphological and phenotypic changes characterized by a loss of luminal-associated gene expression and a concomitant gain of basal-associated gene expression. Conditional knockout of the mouse homolog of TFAP2C, Tcfap2c, in mouse mammary epithelium driven by MMTV-Cre promoted aberrant growth of the mammary tree leading to a reduction in the CD24(hi)/CD49f(mid) luminal cell population and concomitant gain of the CD24(mid)/CD49f(hi) basal cell population at maturity. Our results establish TFAP2C as a key transcriptional regulator for maintaining the luminal phenotype in human breast carcinoma. Furthermore, Tcfap2c influences development of the luminal cell type during mammary development. The data suggest that TFAP2C has an important role in regulated luminal-specific genes and may be a viable therapeutic target in breast cancer.

Villanueva-Toledo J, Ponciano-Gómez A, Ortiz-Sánchez E, Garrido E
Side populations from cervical-cancer-derived cell lines have stem-cell-like properties.
Mol Biol Rep. 2014; 41(4):1993-2004 [PubMed] Related Publications
The target cells for the transforming mutations caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection could be the stem cells of the uterine cervical epithelium, generating particular cancer stem cells (CSCs). The aim of this study was to identify and characterize the CSCs from cervical-cancer-derived cell lines. The ability of SiHa, CaLo, and C-33A cell lines to efflux Hoechst 33342 was evaluated by flow cytometry and cells from the corresponding side populations (SPs) and nonside populations (NSPs) were analyzed for their cell-cycle status (pyronin Y) and their mRNA levels of ABC transporter family members (with qPCR). Specific markers (α6-integrin(bri)/CD71(dim), CK17) of normal epithelial stem cells were evaluated by flow cytometry. The biological properties of these cells were analyzed, including their colony heterogeneity, repopulation, and anchorage-independent colony formation. We identified SPs (around 3 %) in the SiHa and CaLo cell lines, more than 70 % of which were in G0 phase and strongly expressed ABC transporters (predominantly ABCG2 and ABCB1). The SP from CaLo cells showed an α6-integrin(bri)/CD(dim) pattern, whereas the SP from the SiHa cells showed an α6-integrin(-)/CD(dim) pattern. Recultured cells from the SPs of both cell lines generated both SPs and NSPs, and had higher clonogenic potential to form mainly holoclones and greater colony-forming efficiency under anchorage-independent growth conditions than the cells from the NSPs or total cell populations. Interestingly, we identified no SP in the HPV-uninfected C-33A cell line, and it did not express ABCG2 or other members of the ABC transporters (ABCB1, ABCC1, or ABCA3).

Groulx JF, Giroux V, Beauséjour M, et al.
Integrin α6A splice variant regulates proliferation and the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in human colorectal cancer cells.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(6):1217-27 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
The integrin α6 subunit pre-messenger RNA undergoes alternative splicing to generate two different splice variants, named α6A and α6B, having distinct cytoplasmic domains. In the human colonic gland, these splice variants display different patterns of expression suggesting specific functions for each variant. We have previously found an up-regulation of the α6β4 integrin in colon adenocarcinomas as well as an increase in the α6A/α6B ratio, but little is known about the involvement of α6Aβ4 versus α6Bβ4 in this context. The aim of this study was to elucidate the function of the α6Aβ4 integrin in human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Expression studies on a panel of primary CRCs confirmed that the up-regulation of the α6 subunit in CRC is a direct consequence of the increase of the α6A variant. To investigate the functional significance of an α6A up-regulation in CRC, we specifically knocked down its expression in well-established CRC cell lines using a small-hairpin RNA approach. Results showed a growth rate reduction in all α6A knockdown CRC cell lines studied. The α6A silencing was also found to be associated with a significant repression of a number of Wnt/β-catenin pathway end points. Moreover, it was accompanied by a reduction in the capacity of these cells to develop tumours in xenografts. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the α6A variant is a pro-proliferative form of the α6 integrin subunit in CRC cells and appears to mediate its effects through the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

Dayal JH, Cole CL, Pourreyron C, et al.
Type VII collagen regulates expression of OATP1B3, promotes front-to-rear polarity and increases structural organisation in 3D spheroid cultures of RDEB tumour keratinocytes.
J Cell Sci. 2014; 127(Pt 4):740-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Type VII collagen is the main component of anchoring fibrils, structures that are integral to basement membrane homeostasis in skin. Mutations in the gene encoding type VII collagen COL7A1 cause recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) an inherited skin blistering condition complicated by frequent aggressive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). OATP1B3, which is encoded by the gene SLCO1B3, is a member of the OATP (organic anion transporting polypeptide) superfamily responsible for transporting a wide range of endogenous and xenobiotic compounds. OATP1B3 expression is limited to the liver in healthy tissues, but is frequently detected in multiple cancer types and is reported to be associated with differing clinical outcome. The mechanism and functional significance of tumour-specific expression of OATP1B3 has yet to be determined. Here, we identify SLCO1B3 expression in tumour keratinocytes isolated from RDEB and UV-induced cSCC and demonstrate that SLCO1B3 expression and promoter activity are modulated by type VII collagen. We show that reduction of SLCO1B3 expression upon expression of full-length type VII collagen in RDEB cSCC coincides with acquisition of front-to-rear polarity and increased organisation of 3D spheroid cultures. In addition, we show that type VII collagen positively regulates the abundance of markers implicated in cellular polarity, namely ELMO2, PAR3, E-cadherin, B-catenin, ITGA6 and Ln332.

Zhu P, Davis M, Blackwelder AJ, et al.
Metformin selectively targets tumor-initiating cells in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer models.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014; 7(2):199-210 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Metformin is an oral biguanide used for type II diabetes. Epidemiologic studies suggest a link between metformin use and reduced risk of breast and other types of cancers. ErbB2-expressing breast cancer is a subgroup of tumors with poor prognosis. Previous studies demonstrated that metformin is a potent inhibitor of ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells; metformin treatment extends the life span and impedes mammary tumor development in ErbB2 transgenic mice in vivo. However, the mechanisms of metformin associated antitumor activity, especially in prevention models, remain unclear. We report here for the first time that systemic administration of metformin selectively inhibits CD61(high)/CD49f(high) subpopulation, a group of tumor-initiating cells (TIC) of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-ErbB2 mammary tumors, in preneoplastic mammary glands. Metformin also inhibited CD61(high)/CD49f(high) subpopulation in MMTV-ErbB2 tumor-derived cells, which was correlated with their compromised tumor initiation/development in a syngeneic tumor graft model. Molecular analysis indicated that metformin induced downregulation of ErbB2 and EGFR expression and inhibited the phosphorylation of ErbB family members, insulin-like growth factor-1R, AKT, mTOR, and STAT3 in vivo. In vitro data indicate that low doses of metformin inhibited the self-renewal/proliferation of cancer stem cells (CSC)/TICs in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. We further demonstrated that the expression and activation of ErbB2 were preferentially increased in CSC/TIC-enriched tumorsphere cells, which promoted their self-renewal/proliferation and rendered them more sensitive to metformin. Our results, especially the in vivo data, provide fundamental support for developing metformin-mediated preventive strategies targeting ErbB2-associated carcinogenesis.

Lv G, Lv T, Qiao S, et al.
RNA interference targeting human integrin α6 suppresses the metastasis potential of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Eur J Med Res. 2013; 18:52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Increased metastasis has been proved to be associated with a poor prognosis for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There are higher-level expressions of integrin α6 in the tissues of HCC patients with a higher fatality rate. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) silencing integrin α6 expression on the proliferation and metastasis in HCC cell lines.
METHODS: Two human HCC cell lines, HepG2 and Bel-7402 were transfected with shRNA targeting human integrin α6. Protein and mRNA expression level were determined by western blot and real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) to detect the transfected efficacy. The metastasis potential of HCC cells was evaluated by their proliferation, adhesion and invasion abilities. Cell proliferation was measured by MTT assay. Adhesion ability was measured by adhesion and spreading assays. The expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) was measured by qRT-PCR. The potential of invasion was measured by qRT-PCR and Transwell chamber assay. PI3K inhibitor LY294002 was used to explore the signal pathways of integrin α6 in HCC cells.
RESULTS: Western blot and qRT-PCR detection showed that over 75% of integrin α6 expression in HCC cells was through knockdown by shRNA. Proliferation, adhesion, spreading and invasion of HepG2 and Bel-7402 cells were dramatically decreased in cells transfected with shRNA compared to the control cells. P-ERK and p-AKT were reduced by shRNA targeting integrin α6 and PI3K inhibitor LY294002.
CONCLUSION: Knockdown integrin α6 can inhibit the proliferation and metastasis of HCC cells through PI3K/ARK and MAPK/ERK signal pathways by shRNA in vitro. Integrin α6 can mediate the metastasis potential, and can be used as a candidate target for therapy in HCC resulting in improved patients' survival.

Li Q, Eades G, Yao Y, et al.
Characterization of a stem-like subpopulation in basal-like ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) lesions.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(3):1303-12 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Previously, we found that basal-like ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) contains cancer stem-like cells. Here, we characterize stem-like subpopulations in a model of basal-like DCIS and identify subpopulations of CD49f+/CD24- stem-like cells that possess aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 activity. We found that these cells show enhanced migration potential compared with non-stem DCIS cells. We also found that the chemopreventive agent sulforaphane can target these DCIS stem-like cells, reduce aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) expression, and decrease mammosphere and progenitor colony formation. Furthermore, we characterized exosomal trafficking of microRNAs in DCIS and found that several microRNAs (miRs) including miR-140, miR-29a, and miR-21 are differentially expressed in exosomes from DCIS stem-like cells. We found that SFN treatment could reprogram DCIS stem-like cells as evidenced by significant changes in exosomal secretion more closely resembling that of non-stem cancer cells. Finally, we demonstrated that exosomal secretion of miR-140 might impact signaling in nearby breast cancer cells.

Mukhopadhyay P, Farrell T, Sharma G, et al.
Heterogeneity of functional properties of Clone 66 murine breast cancer cells expressing various stem cell phenotypes.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e78725 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Breast cancer grows, metastasizes and relapses from rare, therapy resistant cells with a stem cell phenotype (cancer stem cells/CSCs). However, there is a lack of studies comparing the functions of CSCs isolated using different phenotypes in order to determine if CSCs are homogeneous or heterogeneous.
METHODS: Cells with various stem cell phenotypes were isolated by sorting from Clone 66 murine breast cancer cells that grow orthotopically in immune intact syngeneic mice. These populations were compared by in vitro functional assays for proliferation, growth, sphere and colony formation; and in vivo limiting dilution analysis of tumorigenesis.
RESULTS: The proportion of cells expressing CD44(high)CD24(low/neg), side population (SP) cells, ALDH1(+), CD49f(high), CD133(high), and CD34(high) differed, suggesting heterogeneity. Differences in frequency and size of tumor spheres from these populations were observed. Higher rates of proliferation of non-SP, ALDH1(+), CD34(low), and CD49f(high) suggested properties of transit amplifying cells. Colony formation was higher from ALDH1(-) and non-SP cells than ALDH1(+) and SP cells suggesting a progenitor phenotype. The frequency of clonal colonies that grew in agar varied and was differentially altered by the presence of Matrigel™. In vivo, fewer cells with a stem cell phenotype were needed for tumor formation than "non-stem" cells. Fewer SP cells were needed to form tumors than ALDH1(+) cells suggesting further heterogeneities of cells with stem phenotypes. Different levels of cytokines/chemokines were produced by Clone 66 with RANTES being the highest. Whether the heterogeneity reflects soluble factor production remains to be determined.
CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that Clone 66 murine breast cancer cells that express stem cell phenotypes are heterogeneous and exhibit different functional properties, and this may also be the case for human breast cancer stem cells.

Sayeed A, Fedele C, Trerotola M, et al.
IGF-IR promotes prostate cancer growth by stabilizing α5β1 integrin protein levels.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(10):e76513 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Dynamic crosstalk between growth factor receptors, cell adhesion molecules and extracellular matrix is essential for cancer cell migration and invasion. Integrins are transmembrane receptors that bind extracellular matrix proteins and enable cell adhesion and cytoskeletal organization. They also mediate signal transduction to regulate cell proliferation and survival. The type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR) mediates tumor cell growth, adhesion and inhibition of apoptosis in several types of cancer. We have previously demonstrated that β1 integrins regulate anchorage-independent growth of prostate cancer (PrCa) cells by regulating IGF-IR expression and androgen receptor-mediated transcriptional functions. Furthermore, we have recently reported that IGF-IR regulates the expression of β1 integrins in PrCa cells. We have dissected the mechanism through which IGF-IR regulates β1 integrin expression in PrCa. Here we report that IGF-IR is crucial for PrCa cell growth and that β1 integrins contribute to the regulation of proliferation by IGF-IR. We demonstrate that β1 integrin regulation by IGF-IR does not occur at the mRNA level. Exogenous expression of a CD4 - β1 integrin cytoplasmic domain chimera does not interfere with such regulation and fails to stabilize β1 integrin expression in the absence of IGF-IR. This appears to be due to the lack of interaction between the β1 cytoplasmic domain and IGF-IR. We demonstrate that IGF-IR stabilizes the β1 subunit by protecting it from proteasomal degradation. The α5 subunit, one of the binding partners of β1, is also downregulated along with β1 upon IGF-IR knockdown while no change is observed in the expression of the α2, α3, α4, α6 and α7 subunits. Our results reveal a crucial mechanistic role for the α5β1 integrin, downstream of IGF-IR, in regulating cancer growth.

Kinoshita T, Nohata N, Hanazawa T, et al.
Tumour-suppressive microRNA-29s inhibit cancer cell migration and invasion by targeting laminin-integrin signalling in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Br J Cancer. 2013; 109(10):2636-45 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Our recent studies of microRNA (miRNA) expression signatures demonstrated that microRNA-29s (miR-29s; miR-29a/b/c) were significantly downregulated in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and were putative tumour-suppressive miRNAs in human cancers. Our aim in this study was to investigate the functional significance of miR-29s in cancer cells and to identify novel miR-29s-mediated cancer pathways and responsible genes in HNSCC oncogenesis and metastasis.
METHODS: Gain-of-function studies using mature miR-29s were performed to investigate cell proliferation, migration and invasion in two HNSCC cell lines (SAS and FaDu). To identify miR-29s-mediated molecular pathways and targets, we utilised gene expression analysis and in silico database analysis. Loss-of-function assays were performed to investigate the functional significance of miR-29s target genes.
RESULTS: Restoration of miR-29s in SAS and FaDu cell lines revealed significant inhibition of cancer cell migration and invasion. Gene expression data and in silico analysis demonstrated that miR-29s modulated the focal adhesion pathway. Moreover, laminin γ2 (LAMC2) and α6 integrin (ITGA6) genes were candidate targets of the regulation of miR-29s. Luciferase reporter assays showed that miR-29s directly regulated LAMC2 and ITGA6. Silencing of LAMC2 and ITGA6 genes significantly inhibited cell migration and invasion in cancer cells.
CONCLUSION: Downregulation of miR-29s was a frequent event in HNSCC. The miR-29s acted as tumour suppressors and directly targeted laminin-integrin signalling. Recognition of tumour-suppressive miRNA-mediated cancer pathways provides new insights into the potential mechanisms of HNSCC oncogenesis and metastasis and suggests novel therapeutic strategies for the disease.

Windus LC, Glover TT, Avery VM
Bone-stromal cells up-regulate tumourigenic markers in a tumour-stromal 3D model of prostate cancer.
Mol Cancer. 2013; 12(1):112 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate interactions between tumour cells and the surrounding bone stroma are to date largely undetermined in prostate cancer (PCa) progression. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of alpha 6 and beta 1 integrin subunits in mediating tumour-stromal interactions.
METHODS: Utilising 3D in vitro assays we evaluated and compared 1. Monocultures of prostate metastatic PC3, bone stromal derived HS5 and prostate epithelial RWPE-1 cells and 2. Tumour-stromal co-cultures (PC3 + HS5) to ascertain changes in cellular phenotype, function and expression of metastatic markers.
RESULTS: In comparison to 3D monocultures of PC3 or HS5 cells, when cultured together, these cells displayed up-regulated invasive and proliferative qualities, along with altered expression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal and chemokine protein constituents implicated in metastatic dissemination. When co-cultured, HS5 cells were found to re-express N-Cadherin and chemokine receptor CXCR7. Alterations in N-Cadherin expression were found to be mediated by soluble factors secreted by PC3 tumour cells, while chemokine receptor re-expression was dependent on direct cell-cell interactions. We have also shown that integrins beta 1 and alpha 6 play an integral role in maintaining cell homeostasis and mediating expression of E-Cadherin, N-Cadherin and vimentin, in addition to chemokine receptor CXCR7.
CONCLUSIONS: Collectively our results suggest that both PC3 and HS5 cells provide a "protective" and reciprocal milieu that promotes tumour growth. As such 3D co-cultures may serve as a more complex and valid biological model in the drug discovery pipeline.

Ampuja M, Jokimäki R, Juuti-Uusitalo K, et al.
BMP4 inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells and induces an MMP-dependent migratory phenotype in MDA-MB-231 cells in 3D environment.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:429 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) belongs to the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) family of proteins. BMPs regulate cell proliferation, differentiation and motility, and have also been reported to be involved in cancer pathogenesis. We have previously shown that BMP4 reduces breast cancer cell proliferation through G1 cell cycle arrest and simultaneously induces migration in a subset of these cell lines. Here we examined the effects of BMP4 in a more physiological environment, in a 3D culture system.
METHODS: We used two different 3D culture systems; Matrigel, a basement membrane extract from mouse sarcoma cells, and a synthetic polyethylene glycol (PEG) gel. AlamarBlue reagent was used for cell proliferation measurements and immunofluorescence was used to determine cell polarity. Expression of cell cycle regulators was examined by Western blot and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression by qRT-PCR.
RESULTS: The MCF-10A normal breast epithelial cells formed round acini with correct apicobasal localization of α6 integrin in Matrigel whereas irregular structures were seen in PEG gel. The two 3D matrices also supported dissimilar morphology for the breast cancer cells. In PEG gel, BMP4 inhibited the growth of MCF-10A and the three breast cancer cell lines examined, thus closely resembling the 2D culture conditions, but in Matrigel, no growth inhibition was observed in MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-361 cells. Furthermore, BMP4 induced the expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 both in 2D and 3D culture, thereby partly explaining the growth arrest. Interestingly, MDA-MB-231 cells formed large branching, stellate structures in response to BMP4 treatment in Matrigel, suggestive of increased cell migration or invasion. This effect was reversed by Batimastat, a broad-spectrum MMP inhibitor, and subsequent analyses showed BMP4 to induce the expression of MMP3 and MMP14, that are thus likely to be responsible for the stellate phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our results show that Matrigel provides a more physiological environment for breast epithelial cells than PEG gel. Moreover, BMP4 partly recapitulates in 3D culture the growth suppressive abilities previously seen in 2D culture and induces an MMP-dependent migratory phenotype in MDA-MB-231 cells.

Smadja DM, Guerin CL, Boscolo E, et al.
α6-Integrin is required for the adhesion and vasculogenic potential of hemangioma stem cells.
Stem Cells. 2014; 32(3):684-93 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Infantile hemangioma (IH) is the most common tumor of infancy. Hemangioma stem cells (HemSC) are a mesenchymal subpopulation isolated from IH CD133+ cells. HemSC can differentiate into endothelial and pericyte/smooth muscle cells and form vascular networks when injected in immune-deficient mice. α6-Integrin subunit has been implicated in the tumorgenicity of glioblastoma stem cells and the homing properties of hematopoietic, endothelial, and mesenchymal progenitor cells. Therefore, we investigated the possible function(s) of α6-integrin in HemSC. We documented α6-integrin expression in IH tumor specimens and HemSC by RT-qPCR and flow cytometry. We examined the effect of blocking or silencing α6-integrin on the adhesive and proliferative properties of HemSC in vitro and the vasculogenic and homing properties of HemSC in vivo. Targeting α6-integrin in cultured HemSC inhibited adhesion to laminin but had no effect on proliferation. Vessel-forming ability in Matrigel implants and hepatic homing after i.v. delivery were significantly decreased in α6-integrin siRNA-transfected HemSC. In conclusion, α6-integrin is required for HemSC adherence to laminin, vessel formation in vivo, and for homing to the liver. Thus, we uncovered an important role for α6 integrin in the vasculogenic properties of HemSC. Our results suggest that α6-integrin expression on HemSC could be a new target for antihemangioma therapy.

Poos K, Smida J, Nathrath M, et al.
How microRNA and transcription factor co-regulatory networks affect osteosarcoma cell proliferation.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2013; 9(8):e1003210 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
Osteosarcomas (OS) are complex bone tumors with various genomic alterations. These alterations affect the expression and function of several genes due to drastic changes in the underlying gene regulatory network. However, we know little about critical gene regulators and their functional consequences on the pathogenesis of OS. Therefore, we aimed to determine microRNA and transcription factor (TF) co-regulatory networks in OS cell proliferation. Cell proliferation is an essential part in the pathogenesis of OS and deeper understanding of its regulation might help to identify potential therapeutic targets. Based on expression data of OS cell lines divided according to their proliferative activity, we obtained 12 proliferation-related microRNAs and corresponding target genes. Therewith, microRNA and TF co-regulatory networks were generated and analyzed regarding their structure and functional influence. We identified key co-regulators comprising the microRNAs miR-9-5p, miR-138, and miR-214 and the TFs SP1 and MYC in the derived networks. These regulators are implicated in NFKB- and RB1-signaling and focal adhesion processes based on their common or interacting target genes (e.g., CDK6, CTNNB1, E2F4, HES1, ITGA6, NFKB1, NOTCH1, and SIN3A). Thus, we proposed a model of OS cell proliferation which is primarily co-regulated through the interactions of the mentioned microRNA and TF combinations. This study illustrates the benefit of systems biological approaches in the analysis of complex diseases. We integrated experimental data with publicly available information to unravel the coordinated (post)-transcriptional control of microRNAs and TFs to identify potential therapeutic targets in OS. The resulting microRNA and TF co-regulatory networks are publicly available for further exploration to generate or evaluate own hypotheses of the pathogenesis of OS (

Atkinson RL, Yang WT, Rosen DG, et al.
Cancer stem cell markers are enriched in normal tissue adjacent to triple negative breast cancer and inversely correlated with DNA repair deficiency.
Breast Cancer Res. 2013; 15(5):R77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/11/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: We hypothesized that cells present in normal tissue that bear cancer stem cell markers may represent a cancer cell of origin or a microenvironment primed for tumor development, and that their presence may correlate with the clinically defined subtypes of breast cancer that show increased tumorigenicity and stem cell features. methods: Normal tissues sampled at least 5 cm from primary tumors (normal adjacent tissue) were obtained from 61 chemotherapy-naive patients with breast cancer treated with mastectomy. Samples were stained simultaneously with immunofluorescence for CD44/CD49f/CD133/2 stem cell markers. We assessed the association between CD44+CD49f+CD133/2+ staining in normal adjacent tissue and breast cancer receptor subtype (defined by the expression of the estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR), or human epidermal growth factor-2 (Her2) receptors). We also examined the correlation between CD44+CD49f+CD133/2+ immunofluorescence and each of two previously published gene signatures, one derived from stem-cell enriched tissue and one from BRCA mutated tissue expected to have defective DNA repair.
RESULTS: Patients with triple negative breast cancer (ER–/PR–/HER2–) expressed CD44+CD49f+CD133/2+ in 9 of 9 normal adjacent tissue samples compared with 7 of 52 ER+ and/or Her2+ tumors (P < 0.001). Further, expression of CD44+CD49f+CD133/2+ by normal adjacent tissue correlated positively with a stem cell-derived tumorigenic signature (P <0.001) and inversely with a defective DNA-repair signature (P <0.001).
CONCLUSION: Normal cells bearing cancer stem cell markers are associated with the triple negative receptor subtype of breast cancer. This study suggests stem cell staining and gene expression signatures from normal breast tissues represent novel tissue-based risk biomarkers for triple negative breast cancer. Validation of these results in additional studies of normal tissue from cancer-free women could lay the foundation for future targeted triple negative breast cancer prevention strategies.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only; it can not be used in diagnosis or treatment.

Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. ITGA6, Cancer Genetics Web: Accessed:

Creative Commons License
This page in Cancer Genetics Web by Simon Cotterill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Note: content of abstracts copyright of respective publishers - seek permission where appropriate.

 [Home]    Page last revised: 06 August, 2015     Cancer Genetics Web, Established 1999