Research Papers:

Osteopontin–integrin engagement induces HIF-1α–TCF12-mediated endothelial-mesenchymal transition to exacerbate colorectal cancer

Chi-Shuan Fan, Wei-Shone Chen, Li-Li Chen, Chia-Chi Chen, Yu-Ting Hsu, Kee Voon Chua, Horng-Dar Wang and Tze-Sing Huang _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:4998-5015. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23578

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Chi-Shuan Fan1,2, Wei-Shone Chen3, Li-Li Chen2, Chia-Chi Chen2, Yu-Ting Hsu2, Kee Voon Chua2, Horng-Dar Wang1 and Tze-Sing Huang2,4

1Institute of Biotechnology, National Tsing-Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

2National Institute of Cancer Research, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan

3Division of Colorectal Surgery, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and Department of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

4Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Correspondence to:

Tze-Sing Huang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: EndoMT; HIF-1α; TCF12; eHSP90α; cancer cell stemness

Received: August 08, 2017     Accepted: December 04, 2017     Published: December 22, 2017


Osteopontin (OPN) is a multi-functional phospho-glycoprotein that can stimulate angiogenesis through acting on endothelial cells. As angiogenic sprouting involves endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT), we are intrigued to know whether OPN exerts an effect on EndoMT. Clinically, we indeed detected EndoMT-derived cells next to OPN-expressing cells in colorectal cancer tissues. Furthermore, we treated OPN to primary cultures of endothelial cells to investigate the EndoMT-inducing activity and the underlying mechanisms. Integrin αVβ3 rather than CD44 is involved in OPN-induced EndoMT. OPN-integrin αVβ3 engagement induces HIF-1α expression through a PI3K/Akt/TSC2-mediated and mTORC1-dependent protein synthesis pathway, which in turn trans-activates TCF12 gene expression. TCF12 further interacts with EZH2 and histone deacetylases to transcriptionally repress VE-cadherin gene and thus facilitates EndoMT. Like cancer-associated fibroblasts, EndoMT-derived cells promote tumor growth and metastasis by secreting certain proteins. Secreted HSP90α is a candidate suggested by microwestern array assay, and is herein verified to induce stemness properties in colorectal cancer cells. As OPN is overexpressed in human cancers, OPN-induced EndoMT and EndoMT-derived cells can be potentially taken as cancer therapeutic targets.

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