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EMC1 contributes to breast cancer cells malignancy

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Author(s):
Roberto Augusto Silva Molina
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Enilza Maria Espreafico; Guido Lenz; Maria Aparecida Nagai; Mariana Kiomy Osako
Advisor: Enilza Maria Espreafico
Abstract

Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide. It presents as a heterogeneous disease composed of distinct subtypes associated with different clinical prognoses, but the molecular basis underlying their tumor progression are not yet fully comprehended. Evidence from large-scale studies suggests a potential involvement of EMC1 protein in the development of breast cancer, but fail to assess its specific role in the progression and maintenance of this type of tumor. EMC1 is part of a protein complex composed of ten different subunits associated to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and recently proposed to play a potential role in the folding and maturation of membrane proteins in the secretory pathway. Thus, our aim here was to do a functional characterization of EMC1 in breast cancer. Using a small panel of breast cancer cell lines, we showed higher EMC1 mRNA expression levels in the most aggressive cell lines, by qPCR. Two breast tumor cell lines, MCF - 7 and SKBR -3 were used for stable expression of EMC1 mediated by the plasmidial vector pcDNA3.1. The effects were remarkable only for the SKBR-3 cell line, which carries an amplification of the HER-2 locus, a tyrosine kinase receptor of the EGFR family, involved in cell proliferation and invasion. We observed a clear morphological change after overexpression of EMC1 in this cell line, suggesting a reprogramming to a mesenchymal phenotype. The cells acquired more prominent filopodia and showed an increase of their proliferative capacity and clonogenic growth upon adhesive and non-adhesive conditions, as well as an increase of invasive (collagen-coated transwell) and migratory (wound healing) properties. Analysis of the cell cycle by propidium iodide showed a slight increase in the cell population in S phase and G2/M for EMC1-overexpressing cells, corroborating other functional assays. Also, EMC1-overexpressing cells showed an increase in the release of MMP-2, which could explain the increase in the invasive capacity of these cells. The results of the functional assays confirm the in silico analysis performed in which we identified a correlation between the EMC1 expression with proteins involved in functions in the endoplasmic reticulum and in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. We also evaluated the cellular metabolism and mitochondrial functions such as oxygen consumption using an oxygraph and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) with DHE dye. Overexpression of EMC1 led to decreased respiration, i.e. oxygen consumption and also ROS production whereas lactate was increased, characteristics associated with increased malignancy of breast tumor cells. Finally, we show through in vivo tumorigenesis assay using nude mice that overexpression of EMC1 led to formation of more aggressive tumors. Together the data suggest an important role of EMC1 in tumor progression of breast cancer, especially in the transition to more invasive stages, serving as a potential prognostic marker and target for future therapies. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 10/11812-8 - Study of the role of KIAA0090 protein in neoplastic transformation and cancer therapeutic resistance
Grantee:Roberto Augusto Silva Molina
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate