Over-expression of the special AT rich sequence binding protein 1 (SATB1) promotes the progression of nasopharyngeal carcinoma: association with EBV LMP-1 expression

Zhihua Shen, Yumei Zeng, Junli Guo, Yanxia Wu, Xiaofan Jiang, Ranran Ding, Changli Wu, Rujia Li, Botao Luo, Chao Zeng, Hanguo Jiang, Wei Jie
Journal of Translational Medicine 2013 September 18, 11: 217

BACKGROUND: Special AT rich sequence binding protein 1 (SATB1) plays a crucial role in the biology of various types of human cancer. However, the role of SATB1 in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) remains unknown. In the present study, we sought to investigate the contribution of aberrant SATB1 expression in the progression of NPC and its association with the Epstein Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1).

METHODS: Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to detect SATB1 and LMP-1 protein in clinical samples, and the association of SATB1 protein expression with patient clinicopathological characteristics and LMP-1 expression were analyzed. SATB1 expression profiles were evaluated in well-differentiated NPC cell line CNE1, poorly-differentiated CNE2Z, undifferentiated C666-1 and immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelia NP-69 cells using quantitative RT-PCR, western blotting and fluorescent staining. After inhibition the SATB1 expression by using SATB1 specific small interfering RNA in these cell lines, the change of cell proliferation was investigated by western blotting analysis of PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) expression and CCK-8 assay, and the cell migration was assessed by Transwell migration assay. Finally, the expressions of SATB1 and PCNA were examined in CNE1 cells that forced LMP-1 expression by fluorescent staining and RT-PCR.

RESULTS: Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that SATB1 protein expression was elevated in NPC tissues compared to benign nasopharyngeal tissues (P = 0.005). Moreover, high levels of SATB1 protein expression were positively correlated with clinical stage (P = 0.025), the status of lymph node metastasis (N classification) (P = 0.018), distant metastasis (M classification) (P = 0.041) and LMP-1 expression status (r = 2.35, P < 0.01) in NPC patients. In vitro experiments demonstrated that an inverse relationship between SATB1 expression and NPC differentiation status, with SATB1 weakly expressed in NP-69 cells and CNE1 cells, and significant increasingly expressed in CNE-2Z and C666-1 cells. Targeted knockdown of SATB1 expression obviously attenuated the proliferation and migration of highly SATB1-expressing CNE2Z and C666-1 cells, but not NP-69 and CNE1 cells. Interestingly, forced LMP-1 expression in CNE1 cells led to a surprisingly increasing SATB1 expression and nuclear location, companying with an up-regulated PCNA expression.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results reveal that EBV LMP-1-mediated over-expression of SATB1 is associated with NPC progression, suggesting SATB1 may represent a promising biomarker and therapeutic target for NPC.

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