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PYK2 integrates growth factor and cytokine receptors signaling and potentiates breast cancer invasion via a positive feedback loop

Michael Selitrennik and Sima Lev _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:22214-22226. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4257

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Michael Selitrennik1, Sima Lev1

1Molecular Cell Biology Department, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Correspondence to:

Sima Lev, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: breast carcinoma, invasion, signaling, IL-8, ErbB receptors

Received: April 13, 2015     Accepted: May 29, 2015     Published: June 10, 2015


The involvement of ErbB family members in breast cancer progression and metastasis has been demonstrated by many studies. However, the downstream effectors that mediate their migratory and invasive responses have not been fully explored. In this study, we show that the non-receptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 is a key effector of EGFR and HER2 signaling in human breast carcinoma. We found that PYK2 is activated by both EGF and heregulin (HRG) in breast cancer cells, and positively regulates EGF/HRG-induced cell spreading, migration and invasion. PYK2 depletion markedly affects ERK1/2 and STAT3 phosphorylation in response to EGF/HRG as well as to IL8 treatment. Importantly, PYK2 depletion also reduced EGF/HRG-induced MMP9 and IL8 transcription, while IL8 inhibition abrogated EGF-induced MMP9 transcription and attenuated cell invasion. IL8, which is transcriptionally regulated by STAT3 and induces PYK2 activation, prolonged EGF-induced PYK2, STAT3 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation suggesting that IL8 acts through an autocrine loop to reinforce EGF-induced signals. Collectively our studies suggest that PYK2 is a common downstream effector of ErbB and IL8 receptors, and that PYK2 integrates their signaling pathways through a positive feedback loop to potentiate breast cancer invasion. Hence, PYK2 could be a potential therapeutic target for a subset of breast cancer patients.

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