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NKCC1 promotes EMT‐like process in GBM via RhoA and Rac1 signaling pathways

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Journal of Cellular Physiology

Published online on


--- - |2- There are some highlights in this paper: 1. An ion channel that is critical to tumor invasion is proposed. 2. This Ion cotransporters promoted epithelial‐mesenchymal transition process in glioma. 3. An intermediate mechanism for regulating epithelial–mesenchymal transition is proved. Glioblastoma is the most common and lethal primary intracranial tumor. As the key regulator of tumor cell volume, sodium‐potassium‐chloride cotransporter 1 (NKCC1) expression increases along with the malignancy of the glioma, and NKCC1 has been implicated in glioblastoma invasion. However, little is known about the role of NKCC1 in the epithelial‐mesenchymal transition‐like process in gliomas. We noticed that aberrantly elevated expression of NKCC1 leads to changes in the shape, polarity, and adhesion of cells in glioma. Here, we investigated whether NKCC1 promotes an epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT)‐like process in gliomas via the RhoA and Rac1 signaling pathways. Pharmacological inhibition and knockdown of NKCC1 both decrease the expressions of mesenchymal markers, such as N‐cadherin, vimentin, and snail, whereas these treatments increase the expression of the epithelial marker E‐cadherin. These findings indicate that NKCC1 promotes an EMT‐like process in gliomas. The underlying mechanism is the facilitation of the binding of Rac1 and RhoA to GTP by NKCC1, which results in a significant enhancement of the EMT‐like process. Specific inhibition or knockdown of NKCC1 both attenuate activated Rac1 and RhoA, and the pharmacological inhibitions of Rac1 and RhoA both impair the invasion and migration abilities of gliomas. Furthermore, we illustrated that NKCC1 knockdown abolished the dissemination and spread of glioma cells in a nude mouse intracranial model. These findings suggest that elevated NKCC1 activity acts in the regulation of an EMT‐like process in gliomas, and thus provides a novel therapeutic strategy for targeting the invasiveness of gliomas, which might help to inhibit the spread of malignant intracranial tumors. - 'Journal of Cellular Physiology, Volume 234, Issue 2, Page 1630-1642, February 2019. '