Laboratory investigation; a journal of technical methods and pathology

Overexpression of endoplasmic reticulum protein 29 regulates mesenchymal-epithelial transition and suppresses xenograft tumor growth of invasive breast cancer cells.

PMID 19770839


Endoplasmic reticulum protein 29 (ERp29) is a novel endoplasmic reticulum (ER) secretion factor that facilitates the transport of secretory proteins in the early secretory pathway. Recently, it was found to be overexpressed in several cancers; however, little is known regarding its function in breast cancer progression. In this study, we show that the expression of ERp29 was reduced with tumor progression in clinical specimens of breast cancer, and that overexpression of ERp29 resulted in G(0)/G(1) arrest and inhibited cell proliferation in MDA-MB-231 cells. Importantly, overexpression of ERp29 in MDA-MB-231 cells led to a phenotypic change and mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) characterized by cytoskeletal reorganization with loss of stress fibers, reduction of fibronectin (FN), reactivation of epithelial cell marker E-cadherin and loss of mesenchymal cell marker vimentin. Knockdown of ERp29 by shRNA in MCF-7 cells reduced E-cadherin, but increased vimentin expression. Furthermore, ERp29 overexpression in MDA-MB-231 and SKBr3 cells decreased cell migration/invasion and reduced cell transformation, whereas silencing of ERp29 in MCF-7 cells enhanced cell aggressive behavior. Significantly, expression of ERp29 in MDA-MB-231 cells suppressed tumor formation in nude mice by repressing the cell proliferative index (Ki-67 positivity). Transcriptional profiling analysis showed that ERp29 acts as a central regulator by upregulating a group of genes with tumor suppressive function, for example, E-cadherin (CDH1), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKN2B) and spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK), and by downregulating a group of genes that regulate cell proliferation (eg, FN, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR)). It is noteworthy that ERp29 significantly attenuated the overall ERK cascade, whereas the ratio of p-ERK1 to p-ERK2 was highly increased. Taken together, our results showed that ERp29 is a novel regulator leading to cell growth arrest and cell transition from a proliferative to a quiescent state, and reprogramming molecular portraits to suppress the tumor growth of MDA--MB--231 breast cancer cells.

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