The mechanism of epithelial-mesenchymal transition induced by TGF-β1 in neuroblastoma cells.Int J Oncol. 2017 May; 50(5):1623-1633.IJ
Neuroblastoma is the second most common extracranial malignant solid tumor that occurs in childhood, and metastasis is one of the major causes of death in neuroblastoma patients. The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important mechanism for both the initiation of tumor invasion and subsequent metastasis. Therefore, this study investigated the mechanism by which transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 induces EMT in human neuroblastoma cells. Using quantitative RT-qPCR and western blot analyses, we found that the mRNA and protein expression levels of E-cadherin were significantly decreased, whereas that of α-SMA was significantly increased after neuroblastoma cells were treated with different concentrations of TGF-β1. A scratch test and Transwell migration assay revealed that cell migration significantly and directly correlated with the concentration of TGF-β1 indicating that TGF-β1 induced EMT in neuroblastoma cells and led to their migration. Inhibiting Smad2/3 expression did not affect the expression of the key molecules involved in EMT. Further investigation found that the expression of the glioblastoma transcription factor (Gli) significantly increased in TGF-β1-stimulated neuroblastoma cells undergoing EMT, accordingly, interfering with Gli1/2 expression inhibited TGF-β1-induced EMT in neuroblastoma cells. GANT61, which is a targeted inhibitor of Gli1 and Gli2, decreased cell viability and promoted cell apoptosis. Thus, TGF-β1 induced EMT in neuroblastoma cells to increase their migration. Specifically, EMT induced by TGF-β1 in neuroblastoma cells did not depend on the Smad signaling pathway, and the transcription factor Gli participated in TGF-β1-induced EMT independent of Smad signaling.