Nir1 promotes invasion of breast cancer cells by binding to chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 18 through the PI3K/Akt/GSK3β/Snail signalling pathway

Baogang Zhang, Chonggao Yin, Hongli Li, Lihong Shi, Ningbo Liu, Yonghong Sun, Shijun Lu, Yuqing Liu, Lei Sun, Xiaolong Li, Weiyi Chen, Yueliang Qi
European Journal of Cancer 2013, 49 (18): 3900-13
Chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 18 (CCL18), which is derived from tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs), plays a critical role in promoting breast cancer metastasis via its receptor, PYK2 N-terminal domain interacting receptor 1 (Nir1). However, the molecular mechanism by which Nir1 promotes breast cancer metastasis by binding to CCL18 remains elusive. In this study, Nir1 expression was associated with lymph node and distant metastasis in patients with invasive ductal carcinoma. For the first time, we report that Nir1 binding to CCL18 promotes the phosphorylation of Akt, LIN-11, Isl1 and MEC-3 protein domain kinase (LIMK), and cofilin, which is a critical step in cofilin recycling and actin polymerisation. Interestingly, Nir1 binding to CCL18 can enhance cell mesenchymal properties and induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Mechanistically, Nir1 binding to CCL18 stabilises Snail via the Akt/GSK3β signalling pathway. In support of these observations, Nir1 binding to CCL18 promoted lung metastasis and LY294002 could inhibit it in vivo. In summary, our in vitro and in vivo results indicate that Nir1 binding to CCL18 plays an important role in breast cancer invasion/metastasis. This study identified both Nir1 and CCL18 as potential anti-invasion targets for therapeutic intervention in breast cancer.

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