Research Papers:

Jagged-2 (JAG2) enhances tumorigenicity and chemoresistance of colorectal cancer cells

Vivek Vaish, Joohwee Kim and Minsub Shim _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:53262-53275. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18391

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Vivek Vaish1,2,3,*, Joohwee Kim1,2,* and Minsub Shim1,2

1Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

2Center for Colon Cancer Research, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

3Present Address: Department of Biotechnology, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune 411007, Maharashtra, India

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Minsub Shim, email: shimm@mailbox.sc.edu

Keywords: chemoresistance, doxorubicin, Jagged-2, NOTCH, p21

Received: October 21, 2016     Accepted: May 13, 2017     Published: June 07, 2017


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality. Recent studies have stated that NOTCH signaling plays an important role in the development and progression of CRC. However, the role of Jagged-2 (JAG2), one of the NOTCH ligands, has not been delineated in colorectal tumorigenesis and drug resistance. In the present study, we have examined the impact of targeting JAG2 on CRC cells. Among all the members of NOTCH ligands, only the expression of JAG2 was found up-regulated in the intestinal tumors of ApcMin/+ mice as compared to the nearby normal mucosa. JAG2 expression was also observed in a panel of human CRC cell lines. Pharmacological inhibition or genetic knockdown of β-catenin in CRC cell lines suppressed JAG2 expression, suggesting Wnt/β-catenin regulation of JAG2 expression. In addition, deletion of Apc gene in the intestinal cells of Apc conditional knockout mice resulted in up-regulation of JAG2 expression. Modulation of JAG2 expression significantly affected in vivo tumorigenicity of CRC cell lines. Moreover, knockdown of JAG2 sensitized CRC cells to chemotherapeutic agents, while ectopic expression of JAG2 increased chemoresistance of the CRC cells. Significant down-regulation of p21 was observed in JAG2-knockdown cells. Forced expression of p21 rescued the sensitivity of JAG2-knockdown cells to doxorubicin. In addition, the chemosensitivity of p21-null cells was not affected by JAG2 knockdown. These results suggest that JAG2 modulates the sensitivity of CRC cells to chemotherapeutic agents through p21. Our study identifies JAG2 as a novel target for therapeutic intervention of CRC.

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