Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 349, Issue 1–2, pp 33–40 | Cite as

Growth and differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9) induces epithelial–mesenchymal transition in prostate cancer cells

  • Sivan M. Bokobza
  • Lin Ye
  • Howard Kynaston
  • Wen G. JiangEmail author


The role of bone morphogenetic proteins in the progression and metastasis of prostate cancer is a topic that has undergone extensive research. This study investigates the role of BMP member growth and differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9) in the progression of this disease. GDF-9 was over-expressed and knocked-down in PC-3 cells, respectively. Furthermore, along with the use of a generated recombinant GDF-9 protein, these cells were then analyzed for any changes in their invasiveness and expression of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) associated genes. GDF-9 was shown to promote the invasiveness of PC-3 cells together with an induction in the expression of genes including SNAI1, RhoC, ROCK-1, and N-cadherin, while reducing levels of E-cadherin. These expression changes are characteristic of the onset of EMT, and resulted in the cells having a more mesenchymal-like morphology. Treating these cells with activin-like kinase-5 (ALK-5) inhibitor, demonstrated that GDF-9 induced up-regulation of these molecules was ALK-5 dependant. This study shows that in PC-3 cells, GDF-9 signaling via ALK-5, can promote cell invasiveness via a complex network of signaling molecules that work together to trigger the process of EMT, and thereby aid in the aggressiveness and progression of prostate cancer cells.


Bone morphogenetic protein GDF-9 Prostate cancer SNAI1 EMT 



This work was supported by the Dezna Robins Jones Charitable foundation and Cancer Research Wales.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sivan M. Bokobza
    • 1
  • Lin Ye
    • 1
  • Howard Kynaston
    • 1
  • Wen G. Jiang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Metastasis and Angiogenesis Research Group, Department of SurgeryCardiff University School of MedicineCardiffUK

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