Molecular and cellular biochemistry

AP4 activates cell migration and EMT mediated by p53 in MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cells.

PMID 26037074


Tumor metastasis is the primary cause of mortality in most cancer patients. Before disassociation from the tumors, most of malignant tumor cells undergo the epithelial-mesenchymal transition to break away from the adhesions between the cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix. Recently, activating enhancer-binding protein (AP4) has been shown to be a mediator of EMT in colorectal cancer and high level of AP4 correlates with poor prognosis in cancer patients. It has been found that AP4 upregulates the genes involved in EMT and cell proliferation in colorectal cancer cells and that the aggressive human breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231 are highly metastatic. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that AP4 may also affect cell migration and EMT in this cell type. Three different assays, including the wound-healing assay, the Boyden chamber assay, and the cell tracking assay, were employed to confirm that AP4 activated both cell migration and invasion. Immunofluorescence staining and Western blot analysis revealed that the cells underwent EMT when AP4 was upregulated. In contrast, overexpression of dominant-negative AP4, lacking the DNA-binding domain, inactivated the DNA-binding ability of endogenous AP4 and led to lower cell motility. Furthermore, we found that AP4 enhanced p53 expression at both transcriptional and translational levels. Knockdown of p53 by siRNA significantly diminished the activation of cell migration by AP4, indicating that AP4 can regulate cell migration via the activity of p53.