Research Papers:

TIMP-2 modulates cancer cell transcriptional profile and enhances E-cadherin/beta-catenin complex expression in A549 lung cancer cells

Dimitra Bourboulia, HuiYing Han, Sandra Jensen-Taubman, Noah Gavil, Biju Isaac, Beiyang Wei, Len Neckers _ and William Stetler-Stevenson

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Oncotarget. 2013; 4:163-173. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.801

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Dimitra Bourboulia1, HuiYing Han1, Sandra Jensen-Taubman1,*, Noah Gavil1,2,*, Biju Isaac1,3, Beiyang Wei1, Len Neckers4 and William G. Stetler-Stevenson1

1 Radiation Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Advanced Technology Center, 8717 Grovemont Circle, Bethesda, MD, USA

2 Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, USA

3 Center for Computational Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA

4 Urologic Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA

* denotes equal contribution


Len Neckers, email:

William G. Stetler-Stevenson, email:

Keywords: TIMP-2, microarray analysis, E-cadherin, cell adhesion, tumor growth inhibition

Received: December 27, 2012, Accepted: January 26, 2013, Published: January 27, 2013


Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP-2) plays an essential role in regulating matrix remodeling, cell growth, differentiation, angiogenesis and apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. We have recently shown that TIMP-2-mediated inhibition of tumor growth is independent of matrix metalloproteinase-mediated mechanisms, and is a consequence of modulating both the tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment. In the current study we aim to identify the molecular pathways associated with these effects. We analyzed the transcriptional profile of the human lung cancer cell line A549 upon overexpression of TIMP-2 and Ala+TIMP-2 (mutant that does not inhibit MMP activity), and we found changes in gene expression predominantly related to decreased tumor development and metastasis. Increased E-cadherin expression in response to both TIMP-2 and Ala+TIMP-2 expression was confirmed by real time quantitative RT-PCR and immunoblotting. A549 cells treated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) displayed loss of cobblestone morphology and cell-cell contact, while cells overexpressing TIMP-2 or Ala+TIMP-2 were resistant to EGF-induced morphological changes. Moreover, exogenous treatment with recombinant Ala+TIMP-2 blocked EGF induced down-regulation of E-cadherin. In vivo, immunohistochemistry of A549 xenografts expressing either TIMP-2 or Ala+TIMP-2 demonstrated increased E-cadherin protein levels. More importantly, transcriptional profile analysis of tumor tissue revealed critical pathways associated with effects on tumor-host interaction and inhibition of tumor growth. In conclusion, we show that TIMP-2 promotes an anti-tumoral transcriptional profile in vitro and in vivo, including upregulation of E-cadherin, in A549 lung cancer cells.

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