Research Papers:

GATA1 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells through PAK5 oncogenic signaling

Yang Li _, Qiang Ke, Yangguang Shao, Ge Zhu, Yanshu Li, Nanxi Geng, Feng Jin and Feng Li

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:4345-4356. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2999

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Yang Li1,*, Qiang Ke1,*, Yangguang Shao1, Ge Zhu1, Yanshu Li1, Nanxi Geng1, Feng Jin2, Feng Li1

1Department of Cell Biology, Key Laboratory of Cell Biology, Ministry of Public Health and Key Laboratory of Medical Cell Biology, Ministry of Education, China Medical University, Shenyang, China

2Department of Breast Surgery, Department of Surgical Oncology, Research Unit of General Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Feng Li, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: EMT, Breast cancer, GATA1, PAK5, Phosphorylation

Received: October 01, 2014     Accepted: December 21, 2014     Published: January 21, 2015


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process in tumor metastatic cascade that is characterized by the loss of cell-cell junctions, resulting in the acquisition of migratory and invasive properties. E-cadherin is a major component of intercellular junctions and the reduction or loss of its expression is a hallmark of EMT. Transcription factor GATA1 has a critical anti-apoptotic role in breast cancer, but its function for metastasis has not been investigated. Here, we found that GATA1, as a novel E-cadherin repressor, promotes EMT in breast cancer cells. GATA1 binds to E-cadherin promoter, down-regulates E-cadherin expression, disrupts intercellular junction and promotes metastasis of breast cancer cell in vivo. Moreover, GATA1 is a new substrate of p21-activated kinase 5 (PAK5), which is phosphorylated on serine 161 and 187 (S161 and S187). GATA1 recruits HDAC3/4 to E-cadherin promoter, which is reduced by GATA1 S161A S187A mutant. These data indicate that phosphorylated GATA1 recruits more HDAC3/4 to promote transcriptional repression of E-cadherin, leading to the EMT of breast cancer cells. Our findings provide insights into the novel function of GATA1, contributing to a better understanding of the EMT, indicating that GATA1 and its phosphorylation may play an important role in the metastasis of breast cancer.

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