Metastatic function of BMP-2 in gastric cancer cells: the role of PI3K/AKT, MAPK, the NF-κB pathway, and MMP-9 expression

Myoung Hee Kang, Sang Cheul Oh, Hyun Joo Lee, Han Na Kang, Jung Lim Kim, Jun Suk Kim, Young A Yoo
Experimental Cell Research 2011 July 15, 317 (12): 1746-62
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have been implicated in tumorigenesis and metastatic progression in various types of cancer cells, but the role and cellular mechanism in the invasive phenotype of gastric cancer cells is not known. Herein, we determined the roles of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT, extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), nuclear factor (NF)-κB, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression in BMP-2-mediated metastatic function in gastric cancer. We found that stimulation of BMP-2 in gastric cancer cells enhanced the phosphorylation of AKT and ERK. Accompanying activation of AKT and ERK kinase, BMP-2 also enhanced phosphorylation/degradation of IκBα and the nuclear translocation/activation of NF-κB. Interestingly, blockade of PI3K/AKT and ERK signaling using LY294002 and PD98059, respectively, significantly inhibited BMP-2-induced motility and invasiveness in association with the activation of NF-κB. Furthermore, BMP-2-induced MMP-9 expression and enzymatic activity was also significantly blocked by treatment with PI3K/AKT, ERK, or NF-κB inhibitors. Immunohistochemistry staining of 178 gastric tumor biopsies indicated that expression of BMP-2 and MMP-9 had a significant positive correlation with lymph node metastasis and a poor prognosis. These results indicate that the BMP-2 signaling pathway enhances tumor metastasis in gastric cancer by sequential activation of the PI3K/AKT or MAPK pathway followed by the induction of NF-κB and MMP-9 activity, indicating that BMP-2 has the potential to be a therapeutic molecular target to decrease metastasis.

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