SNAIL induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cell-like properties in aldehyde dehydroghenase-negative thyroid cancer cells

Kazuaki Yasui, Mika Shimamura, Norisato Mitsutake, Yuji Nagayama
Thyroid: Official Journal of the American Thyroid Association 2013, 23 (8): 989-96

BACKGROUND: Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is thought to play a critical role in the invasion and metastasis of cancer and to be associated with cancer stem cell (CSC) properties. It is not clear if there is a link between EMT and CSCs in thyroid cancers. We therefore investigated the CSC properties of thyroid cancers that underwent EMT.

METHOD: To induce EMT (spindle-like cell morphology, loss and acquisition of expression of an epithelial marker E-cadherin and a mesenchymal marker vimentin respectively) in an epithelial-type thyroid cancer cell line ACT-1, we used transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), BRAF(V600E), and/or Snail homolog 1 (SNAI1, also known as SNAIL). CSC properties were analyzed with assays for cell proliferation, chemosensitivity, in vitro and in vivo tumor formation ability, cell surface antigens, and intracellular aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH; a known CSC marker) activities.

RESULTS: EMT was induced most efficiently by SNAIL (ACT-SNAIL cells), whereas TGF-β and BRAF(V600E) were less efficient. ACT-SNAIL cells showed slightly but significantly enhanced tumor formation ability in an in vitro sphere assay (approximately 3-fold) but not an in vivo subcutaneous tumor growth assay, and showed comparable chemosensitivity compared with the parental ACT-1 cells. However, of interest, although the in vitro sphere-formation ability of ALDH(+) cells was almost unchanged after SNAIL induction, SNAIL overexpression induced much higher (approximately 14-fold) spheres in ALDH(-) cells. Thus, ALDH was no longer a CSC marker in ACT-SNAIL cells.

CONCLUSIONS: All these data indicate that EMT confers CSC properties in ALDH(-) cells and appears to influence the ability of ALDH to enrich CSCs.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"