Background: S100 proteins have been implicated in various aspects of cancer, including epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMT), invasion and metastasis, and also in inflammatory disorders. Here we examined the impact of individual members of this family on the invasion of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells, and their regulation by EMT and inflammation. Methods: Invasion of PDAC cells was analysed in zebrafish embryo xenografts and in transwell invasion assays. Expression and regulation of S100 proteins was studied in vitro by immunoblotting, quantitative PCR and immunofluorescence, and in pancreatic lesions by immunohistochemistry. Results: Whereas the expression of most S100 proteins is characteristic for epithelial PDAC cell lines, S100A4 and S100A6 are strongly expressed in mesenchymal cells and upregulated by ZEB1. S100A4/A6 and epithelial protein S100A14 respectively promote and represses cell invasion. IL-6/11-STAT3 pathway stimulates expression of most S100 proteins. ZEB1 synergises with IL-6/11-STAT3 to upregulate S100A4/A6, but nullifies the effect of inflammation on S100A14 expression. Conclusion: EMT/ZEB1 and IL-6/11-STAT3 signalling act independently and congregate to establish the expression pattern of S100 proteins, which drives invasion. Although ZEB1 regulates expression of S100 family members, these effects are masked by IL-6/11-STAT3 signalling, and S100 proteins cannot be considered as bona fide EMT markers in PDAC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research