Research Papers:

Calretinin promotes invasiveness and EMT in malignant mesothelioma cells involving the activation of the FAK signaling pathway

Janine Wörthmüller, Walter Blum, Laszlo Pecze, Valérie Salicio and Beat Schwaller _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:36256-36272. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26332

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Janine Wörthmüller1, Walter Blum1,2, Laszlo Pecze1, Valérie Salicio1 and Beat Schwaller1

1Unit of Anatomy, Section of Medicine, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland

2Genetica AG, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland

Correspondence to:

Beat Schwaller, email: [email protected]

Keywords: calretinin; malignant mesothelioma; FAK signaling; EMT

Received: August 19, 2018     Accepted: October 25, 2018     Published: November 20, 2018


Calretinin (CR) is used as a positive marker for human malignant mesothelioma (MM) and is essential for mesothelioma cell growth/survival. Yet, the putative role(s) of CR during MM formation in vivo, binding partners or CR’s influence on specific signaling pathways remain unknown. We assessed the effect of CR overexpression in the human MM cell lines MSTO-211H and SPC111. CR overexpression augmented the migration and invasion of MM cells in vitro. These effects involved the activation of the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) signaling pathway, since levels of total FAK and phospho-FAK (Tyr397) were found up-regulated in these cells. CR was also implicated in controlling epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), evidenced by changes of the cell morphology and up-regulation of typical EMT markers. Co-IP experiments revealed FAK as a new binding partner of CR. CR co-localized with FAK at focal adhesion sites; moreover, CR-overexpressing cells displayed enhanced nuclear FAK accumulation and an increased resistance towards the FAK inhibitor VS-6063. Finally, CR downregulation via a lentiviral shRNA against CR (CALB2) resulted in a significantly reduced tumor formation in vivo in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model based on peritoneal MM cell injection. Our results indicate that CR might be considered as a possible target for MM treatment.

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