TLE1 inhibits anoikis and promotes tumorigenicity in human lung cancer cells through ZEB1-mediated E-cadherin repression.

PMID 29069783


The Transducin-like enhancer of split 1 (TLE1) corepressor protein is overexpressed in human lung tumors and is a putative lung-specific oncogene. However, the molecular mechanism underlying its oncogenic function remains to be delineated. Here, we report an important role of TLE1 in promoting lung tumorigenesis by a mechanism involving induction of anoikis resistance. Using the human lung adenocarcinoma A549 and immortalized bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cell lines, we observed that TLE1 inhibits anoikis through transcriptional repression of E-cadherin gene. In support of E-cadherin as a downstream target of TLE1 to block anoikis, forced expression of E-cadherin attenuated TLE1-induced anoikis resistance while E-cadherin downregulation decreased the anoikis sensitivity of TLE1 knockdown cells. Furthermore, we determined that E-cadherin expression is transcriptionally induced upon loss of cell attachment and functions as an effector of anoikis. Loss of E-cadherin via the siRNA strategy or exogenous TLE1 expression was sufficient to attenuate anoikis in A549 and BEAS-2B cells. Importantly, we demonstrated that the ZEB1 transcriptional factor is required for TLE1-mediated E-cadherin repression and anoikis resistance. ZEB1 interacted with and recruited the TLE1 to the E-cadherin promoter to impose histone deacetylation and gene silencing.