KCl cotransporter-3 down-regulates E-cadherin/β-catenin complex to promote epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Yueh Mei Hsu, Yih Fung Chen, Cheng Yang Chou, Ming Jer Tang, Ji Hshiung Chen, Robert J. Wilkins, J. Clive Ellory, Meng Ru Shen

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55 Citations (Scopus)


The potassium chloride cotransporter (KCC) is a major determinant of osmotic homeostasis and plays an emerging role in tumor biology. Here, we investigate if KCC is involved in the regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a critical cellular event of malignancy. E-cadherin and β-catenin colocalize in the cell-cell junctions, which becomes more obvious in a time-dependent manner by blockade of KCC activity in cervical cancer SiHa and CaSki cells. Real-time reverse transcription-PCR on the samples collected from the laser microdissection indicates that KCC3 is the most abundant KCC isoform in cervical carcinoma. The characteristics of EMT appear in KCC3-overexpressed, but not in KCC1- or KCC4-overexpressed cervical cancer cells, including the elongated cell shape, increased scattering, down-regulated epithelial markers (E-cadherin and β-catenin), and up-regulated mesenchymal marker (vimentin). Some cellular functions are enhanced by KCC3 overexpression, such as increased invasiveness and proliferation, and weakened cell-cell association. KCC3 overexpression decreases mRNA level of E-cadherin. The promoter activity assays of various regulatory sequences confirm that KCC3 expression is a potent negative regulator for human E-cadherin gene expression. The proteosome inhibitor restores the decreased protein abundance of B-catenin by KCC3 overexpression. In the surgical specimens of cervical carcinoma, the decreased E-cadherin amount was accompanied by the increased KCC3 abundance. Vimentin begins to appear at the invasive front and becomes significantly expressed in the tumor nest. In conclusion, KCC3 down-regulates E-cadherin/β-catenin complex formation by inhibiting transcription of E-cadherin gene and accelerating proteosome-dependent degradation of β-catenin protein. The disruption of E-cadherin/β-catenin complex formation promotes EMT, thereby stimulating tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11064-11073
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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