Research Papers:

Demonstration of a WNT5A-IL-6 positive feedback loop in melanoma cells: Dual interference of this loop more effectively impairs melanoma cell invasion

Rickard Linnskog, Purusottam Mohapatra, Farnaz Moradi, Chandra Prakash Prasad and Tommy Andersson _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:37790-37802. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9332

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Rickard Linnskog1,*, Purusottam Mohapatra1,*, Farnaz Moradi1, Chandra Prakash Prasad1, Tommy Andersson1

1Cell and Experimental Pathology, Department of Translational Medicine, Lund University, Clinical Research Centre, Skåne University Hospital, SE-20502 Malmö, Sweden

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Tommy Andersson, email: [email protected]

Keywords: WNT5A, interleukin-6, anti-IL-6-Ab, Box5, melanoma invasion

Received: October 14, 2015     Accepted: April 28, 2016     Published: May 12, 2016


Increased expression and signalling of WNT5A and interleukin-6 (IL-6) have both been shown to promote melanoma progression. Here, we investigated the proposed existence of a WNT5A-IL-6 positive feedback loop that drives melanoma migration and invasion. First, the HOPP algorithm revealed that the invasive phenotype of cultured melanoma cells was significantly correlated with increased expression of WNT5A or IL-6. In three invasive melanoma cell lines, endogenous WNT5A protein expression was related to IL-6 protein secretion. Knockdown with anti-IL-6 siRNAs or treating WM852 melanoma cells with a neutralising anti-IL-6 antibody reduced WNT5A protein expression. Conversely, the silencing of WNT5A expression by WNT5A siRNAs or treating WM852 melanoma cells with Box5 (a WNT5A antagonist) significantly reduced IL-6 secretion. Interestingly, these effects occurred at the protein level but not at the transcriptional levels. Functionally, we demonstrated that combined siRNA knockdown of WNT5A and IL-6 expression or the simultaneous inhibition of WNT5A and IL-6 signalling inhibited melanoma cell invasion more effectively than suppressing each factor individually. Together, our results demonstrate that WNT5A and IL-6 are connected through a positive feedback loop in melanoma cells and that the combined targeting of both molecules could serve as an effective therapeutic means to reduce melanoma metastasis.

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