PloS one

TFPI alpha and beta regulate mRNAs and microRNAs involved in cancer biology and in the immune system in breast cancer cells.

PMID 23071754


Emerging evidence indicate a new role of TFPI in cancer biology. We recently reported that both isoforms of TFPI induced apoptosis and inhibited proliferation of cancer cells. The signaling pathway(s) mediating the effects of TFPI is, however, presently still unclear. Our goal was to further investigate the cellular processes affected by TFPI and to get insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the effects of TFPI, using a global gene expression study approach. TFPIα or TFPIβ cDNA were transfected into SK-BR-3 breast cancer cells for stable overexpression. Global mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) expressions were measured and functional annotation of the differentially expressed genes and miRNAs according to gene ontology terms was conducted. Selected results were validated using qRT-PCR and Western blot. A total of 242 and 801 mRNA transcripts and 120 and 46 miRNAs were differentially expressed in cells overexpressing TFPIα or TFPIβ, respectively. Overexpression of either isoform significantly affected the expression of genes involved in cell development (apoptosis, cell movement, migration, invasion, colony formation, growth, and adhesion) and immune response. Network analyses revealed biological interactions between these genes and implied that several of the genes may be involved in both processes. The expression profiles also correlated significantly with clinical phenotype and outcome. Functional cluster analyses indicated altered activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor, small GTPases, and the NF-κB and JAK/STAT cascades when TFPI was overexpressed, and increased activity of the transcription factors NF-κB and Elk-1 and phospho-Akt levels was observed. Integrated mRNA-miRNA analyses showed that 19% and 32% of the differentially expressed genes in cells overexpressing TFPIα or TFPIβ, respectively, may have been regulated by miRNAs. Overexpression of TFPI in breast cancer cells affected the expression of mRNAs and miRNAs involved in processes facilitating cancer cell growth and immunologic response, possibly by signal transduction involving the EGFR pathway.