Research Papers:

Lysophosphatidic acid stimulates epithelial to mesenchymal transition marker Slug/Snail2 in ovarian cancer cells via Gαi2, Src, and HIF1α signaling nexus

Ji Hee Ha, Jeremy D. Ward, Rangasudhagar Radhakrishnan, Muralidharan Jayaraman, Yong Sang Song and Danny N. Dhanasekaran _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:37664-37679. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9224

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Ji Hee Ha1,2, Jeremy D. Ward2, Rangasudhagar Radhakrishnan1, Muralidharan Jayaraman1,2, Yong Sang Song3, Danny N. Dhanasekaran1,2

1Stephenson Cancer Center, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

2Department of Cell Biology, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

3Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to:

Danny N. Dhanasekaran, email: [email protected]

Keywords: ovarian cancer, EMT, LPA, HIF1α, metastasis

Received: February 19, 2016     Accepted: April 19, 2016     Published: May 07, 2016


Recent studies have identified a critical role for lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in the progression of ovarian cancer. Using a transcription factor activation reporter array, which analyzes 45 distinct transcription factors, it has been observed that LPA observed robustly activates the transcription factor hypoxia-induced factor-1α (HIF1α) in SKOV3.ip ovarian cancer cells. HIF1α showed 150-fold increase in its activation profile compared to the untreated control. Validation of the array analysis indicated that LPA stimulates a rapid increase in the levels of HIF1α in ovarian cancer cells, with an observed maximum level of HIF1α-induction by 4 hours. Our report demonstrates that LPA stimulates the increase in HIF1α levels via Gαi2. Consistent with the role of HIF1α in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of cancer cells, LPA stimulates EMT and associated invasive cell migration along with an increase in the expression levels N-cadherin and Slug/Snail2. Using the expression of Slug/Snail2 as a marker for EMT, we demonstrate that the inhibition of Gαi2, HIF1α or Src attenuates this response. In line with the established role of EMT in promoting invasive cell migration, our data demonstrates that the inhibition of HIF1α with the clinically used HIF1α inhibitor, PX-478, drastically attenuates LPA-stimulates invasive migration of SKOV3.ip cells. Thus, our present study demonstrates that LPA utilizes a Gαi2-mediated signaling pathway via Src kinase to stimulate an increase in HIF1α levels and downstream EMT-specific factors such as Slug, leading to invasive migration of ovarian cancer cells.

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