Fos proteins have been implicated in control of tumorigenesis-related genetic programs including invasion, angiogenesis, cell proliferation and apoptosis. In this study, we demonstrate that c-Fos is able to induce mesenchymal transition in murine tumorigenic epithelial cell lines. Expression of c-Fos in MT1TC1 cells led to prominent alterations in cell morphology, increased expression of mesenchymal markers, vimentin and S100A4, DNA methylation-dependent down-regulation of E-cadherin and abrogation of cell-cell adhesion. In addition, c-Fos induced a strong β-catenin-independent proliferative response in MT1TC1 cells and stimulated cell motility, invasion and adhesion to different extracellular matrix proteins. To explore whether loss of E-cadherin plays a role in c-Fos-mediated mesenchymal transition, we expressed wild-type E-cadherin and two different E-cadherin mutants in MT1TC1/c-fos cells. Expression of wild-type E-cadherin restored epithelioid morphology and enhanced cellular levels of catenins. However, exogenous E-cadherin did not influence expression of c-Fos-dependent genes, only partly suppressed growth of MT1TC1/c-fos cells and produced no effect on c-Fos-stimulated cell motility and invasion in matrigel. On the other hand, re-expression of E-cadherin specifically negated c-Fos-induced adhesion to collagen type I, but not to laminin or fibronectin. Of interest, mutant E-cadherin which lacks the ability to form functional adhesive complexes had an opposite, potentiating effect on cell adhesion to collagen I. These data suggest that cell adhesion to collagen I is regulated by the functional state of E-cadherin. Overall, our data demonstrate that, with the exception of adhesion to collagen I, c-Fos is dominant over E-cadherin in relation to the aspects of mesenchymal transition assayed in this study.
- Cell adhesion
- DNA methylation
- Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology