JOURNAL ARTICLE

L1-mediated colon cancer cell metastasis does not require changes in EMT and cancer stem cell markers

Nancy Gavert, Alessia Vivanti, John Hazin, Thomas Brabletz, Avri Ben-Ze'ev
Molecular Cancer Research: MCR 2011, 9 (1): 14-24
21123622
Aberrant activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is common in most sporadic and inherited colorectal cancer (CRC) cells leading to elevated β-catenin/TCF transactivation. We previously identified the neural cell adhesion molecule L1 as a target gene of β-catenin/TCF in CRC cells. Forced expression of L1 confers increased cell motility, invasion, and tumorigenesis, and the induction of human CRC cell metastasis to the liver. In human CRC tissue, L1 is exclusively localized at the invasive front of such tumors in a subpopulation of cells displaying nuclear β-catenin. We determined whether L1 expression confers metastatic capacities by inducing an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and whether L1 cosegregates with cancer stem cell (CSC) markers. We found that changes in L1 levels do not affect the organization or expression of E-cadherin in cell lines, or in invading CRC tissue cells, and no changes in other epithelial or mesenchymal markers were detected after L1 transfection. The introduction of major EMT regulators (Slug and Twist) into CRC cell lines reduced the levels of E-cadherin and induced fibronectin and vimentin, but unlike L1, Slug and Twist expression was insufficient for conferring metastasis. In CRC cells L1 did not specifically cosegregate with CSC markers including CD133, CD44, and EpCAM. L1-mediated metastasis required NF-κB signaling in cells harboring either high or low levels of endogenous E-cadherin. The results suggest that L1-mediated metastasis of CRC cells does not require changes in EMT and CSC markers and operates by activating NF-κβ signaling.

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