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AMPK Inhibits the Stimulatory Effects of TGF-β on Smad2/3 Activity, Cell Migration, and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition.

Molecular pharmacology (2015-10-02)
Hui Lin, Nianshuang Li, Huan He, Ying Ying, Shashank Sunkara, Lingyu Luo, Nonghua Lv, Deqiang Huang, Zhijun Luo
ABSTRACT

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an important downstream effector of the tumor suppressor liver kinase 1 (LKB1) and pharmacologic target of metformin, is well known to exert a preventive and inhibitory effect on tumorigenesis; however, its role in cancer progression and metastasis has not been well characterized. The present study investigates the potential roles of AMPK in inhibiting cancer-cell migration and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by regulating the canonical transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling pathway, an important promoting factor for cancer progression. Our results showed that activation of AMPK by metformin inhibited TGF-β-induced Smad2/3 phosphorylation in cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. The effect of metformin is dependent on the presence of LKB1. A similar effect was obtained by expressing a constitutive active mutant of AMPKα1 subunit, whereas the expression of a dominant negative mutant of AMPKα1 or ablation of AMPKα subunits greatly enhanced TGF-β stimulation of Smad2/3 phosphorylation. As a consequence, expression of genes downstream of Smad2/3, including plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, fibronectin, and connective tissue growth factor, was suppressed by metformin in a LKB1-dependent fashion. In addition, metformin blocked TGF-β-induced inteleukin-6 expression through both LKB1-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Our results also indicate that activation of LKB1/AMPK inhibits TGF-β-stimulated cancer cell migration. Finally, TGF-β induction of EMT was inhibited by phenformin and enhanced by knockdown of LKB1 expression with shRNA. Together, our data suggest that AMPK could be a drug target for controlling cancer progression and metastasis.

MATERIALS
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Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
AICAR, ≥98% (HPLC), powder
Sigma-Aldrich
5-アミノ-4-イミダゾールカルボキサミド, 95%