Anoikis resistance allows metastatic tumor cells to survive in a homeless environment. Activation of epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling is one of the key mechanisms for metastatic tumor cells to resist anoikis, yet the regulation mechanisms of homeless-triggered EGFR activation in metastatic tumor cells remain unclear. Rhomboid-like-2 (RHBDL2), an evolutionally conserved intramembrane serine protease, can cleave the EGF ligand and thus trigger EGFR activation. Herein, we demonstrated that RHBDL2 overexpression in human epithelial cells resulted in promotion of cell proliferation, reduction of cell adhesion, and suppression of anoikis. During long-term suspension cultures, increased RHBDL2 was only detected in aggressive tumor cell lines. Treatment with the rhomboid protease inhibitor or RHBDL2 shRNA increased cleaved caspase 3, a marker of apoptosis. Finally, inhibition of EGFR activation increased the cleaved caspase 3 and attenuated the detachment-induced focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for the first time that RHBDL2 is a critical molecule in anoikis resistance of malignant epithelial cells, possibly through the EGFR-mediated signaling. Our study demonstrates RHBDL2 as a new therapeutic target for cancer metastasis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- 生物化學、遺傳與分子生物學 (全部)
- 環境科學 (全部)