Gelsolin-mediated activation of PI3K/Akt pathway is crucial for hepatocyte growth factor-induced cell scattering in gastric carcinoma
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In gastric cancer (GC), the main subtypes (diffuse and intestinal types) differ in pathological characteristics, with diffuse GC exhibiting early disseminative and invasive behaviour. A distinctive feature of diffuse GC is loss of intercellular adhesion. Although widely attributed to mutations in the CDH1 gene encoding E-cadherin, a significant percentage of diffuse GC do not harbor CDH1 mutations. We found that the expression of the actin-modulating cytoskeletal protein, gelsolin, is significantly higher in diffuse-type compared to intestinal-type GCs, using immunohistochemical and microarray analysis. Furthermore, in GCs with wild-type CDH1, gelsolin expression correlated inversely with CDH1 gene expression. Downregulating gelsolin using siRNA in GC cells enhanced intercellular adhesion and E-cadherin expression, and reduced invasive capacity. Interestingly, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induced increasedgelsolin expression, and gelsolin was essential for HGF-medicated cell scattering and E-cadherin transcriptional repression through Snail, Twist and Zeb2. The HGF-dependent effect on E-cadherin was found to be mediated by interactions between gelsolin and PI3K-Akt signaling. This study reveals for the first time a function of gelsolin in the HGF/cMet oncogenic pathway, which leads to E-cadherin repression and cell scattering in gastric cancer. Our study highlights gelsolin as an important pro-disseminative factor contributing to the aggressive phenotype of diffuse GC.
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