European journal of cell biology

Differential regulation of NM23-H1 under hypoxic and serum starvation conditions in metastatic cancer cells and its implication in EMT.

PMID 28216015


Multiple stresses are prevalent inside the tumor microenvironment rendering tumor growth, neighboring invasion and metastasis of the cancer cells to distant organs. NM23-H1 is the first metastasis suppressor gene identified and known to be implicated as an important regulator of stress-induced metastasis. Herein, we demonstrated that prototypical NM23-H1 expression diminished during hypoxia and serum starvation in Panc-1/MDA-MB-231 cells, but converse invasion patterns were obtained in these two diverse stresses. Supportingly, a compelling discrete difference in mRNA and protein levels of NM23-H1 was achieved in hypoxia as well as serum starvation. Knockdown of NM23-H1 activates EMT whereas the similar effects are subdued in serum starvation where NM23-H1 down-modulation prompted E-cadherin upregulation. Stable NM23-H1 expression augmented E-cadherin levels along with retardation in invadopodea formation and invasion. In hypoxia/serum starvation excess NM23-H1 effectively modulated the Twist1 promoter activity. Thus, differential regulation of NM23-H1 may corroborate/abrogate EMT depending on the nature of stress, tumor microenvironment and cellular context.