Free fatty acids (FFAs) are an energy source, and induce activation of signal transduction pathways that mediate several biological processes. In breast cancer cells, oleic acid (OA) induces proliferation, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) secretion, migration and invasion. However, the signal transduction pathways that mediate migration and invasion induced by OA in breast cancer cells have not been studied in detail. We demonstrate here that FFAR1 and FFAR4 mediate migration induced by OA in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Moreover, OA induces migration, invasion, Akt1 and Akt2 activation, 12-LOX secretion and an increase of NFκB-DNA binding activity in breast cancer cells. Cell migration requires FFAR1, FFAR4, EGFR, Akt and PI3K activity, whereas invasion is mediated though a PI3K/Akt-dependent pathway. Furthermore, OA promotes relocalization of paxillin to focal contacts and it requires PI3K and EGFR activity, whereas NFκB-DNA binding activity requires PI3K and Akt activity.
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