The Biochemical journal

Silencing of hHS6ST2 inhibits progression of pancreatic cancer through inhibition of Notch signalling.

PMID 21443520


Many of the ligands involved in developmental processes require HS (heparan sulfate) to modulate signal transduction. hHS6ST2 (human heparan sulfate D-glucosaminyl 6-O-sulfotransferase-2) is a Golgi-resident enzyme that usually acts on GlcA/IdoA(2S)-GlcNAc/NS disaccharide-6-sulfate modifications within the HS sequence. Emerging evidence indicates the importance of 6-O-sulfation in a number of developmental processes. However, any correlation with cancer-related events remains largely unexplored. In the present study, we found that hHS6ST2, but not other variants, was activated in human PC (pancreatic cancer). shRNA (short hairpin RNA)-mediated silencing of endogenous hHS6ST2 expression in the PC cell line PANC-1 inhibited cell invasion and migration. hHS6ST2 knockdown also resulted in markedly reduced tumorigenesis in immunocompromised mice. To specifically explore the molecular alterations resulting from depletion of hHS6ST2-generated 6-O-sulfation, we employed two-dimensional gel electrophoresis technology followed by nano-HPLC-ESI (electrospray ionization)-tandem MS to separate and identify total proteins from PC cells. Our data suggest that hHS6ST2 potentiates Notch signalling in PC cells. We also identified a role for hHS6ST2 in the growth and tumorigenicity of these cells which, at least in part, acts through Notch-mediated EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) and angiogenesis. The results of the present study suggest that hHS6ST2 could be an attractive target for PC therapy.

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