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TGFβ induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition of thyroid cancer cells by both the BRAF/MEK/ERK and Src/FAK pathways

AuthorsBaquero, Pablo; Lasa, Marina CSIC ORCID; Chiloeches, Antonio
Thyroid cancer
Issue Date2016
CitationMolecular Carcinogenesis 55(11): 1639-1654 (2016)
AbstractThe epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial process in tumour progression, by which epithelial cells acquire a mesenchymal phenotype, increasing its motility and the ability to invade distant sites. Here, we describe the molecular mechanisms by which BRAF, TGFβ and the Src/FAK complex cooperatively regulate EMT induction and cell motility of anaplastic thyroid cancer cells. Analysis of EMT marker levels reveals a positive correlation between TGFβ and Snail expression, with a concomitant downregulation of E-cadherin, accompanied by an increase of cell migration and invasion. Furthermore, we show that BRAF depletion by siRNA or inhibition of its activity by treatment with its inhibitor PLX4720 reverses the TGFβ-mediated effects on Snail, E-cadherin, migration and invasion. Moreover, BRAF induces TGFβ secretion through a MEK/ERK-dependent mechanism. In addition, TGFβ activates the Src/FAK complex, which in turn regulates the expression of Snail and E-cadherin as well as cell migration. The inhibition of Src with the inhibitor SU6656 or abrogation of FAK expression with a specific siRNA reverses the TGFβ-induced effects. Interestingly, we demonstrate that activation of the Src/FAK complex by TGFβ is independent of BRAF signalling, since inhibition of this oncogene does not affect its phosphorylation. Our data strongly suggest that TGFβ induces EMT and aggressiveness of thyroid cancer cells by parallel mechanisms involving both the BRAF/MEK/ERK and Src/FAK pathways independently. Thus, we describe novel functions for Src/FAK in mediating the EMT program and aggressiveness regulated by TGFβ, establishing the inhibition of these proteins as a possible effective approach in preventing tumour progression of BRAF-expressing thyroid tumours.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1002/mc.22415
e-issn: 1098-2744
issn: 0899-1987
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