Recombinant cell-permeable HOXA9 protein inhibits NSCLC cell migration and invasion
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Previously, it has been reported that homeobox A9 (HOXA9) protein expression is downregulated in lung cancer cells, and that its expression is inversely correlated with the metastatic potential of lung cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. As such, HOXA9 shows therapeutic potential. The development of therapeutic strategies based on this protein is, however, limited due to its poor membrane permeability. To overcome this problem, we developed a system to deliver HOXA9 protein into non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells.
First, we constructed a delivery vector expressing polyarginine, a cell-penetrating peptide, as well as HOXA9. The resulting recombinant R10-HOXA9 protein was effectively introduced into A549 and NCI-H1299 NSCLC cells. Next, we examined the roles and molecular mechanisms of recombinant R10-HOXA9 in processes involved in tumor progression. To investigate the therapeutic efficacy of the delivery system, we performed cell motility assays using both in vitro and in vivo experimental models.
We found that recombinant R10-HOXA9 protein reduced the invasion and migration rate, but not the proliferation rate, of the NSCLC cells tested, both in vitro and in vivo. Treatment of NSCLC cells with recombinant R10-HOXA9 protein led to a significant increase in E-cadherin expression. Conversely, we found that the expression of snail family zinc finger 2 (SLUG), a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin, was markedly decreased. In an experimental metastatic mouse model, recombinant R10-HOXA9 protein was found to effectively reduce the rate of lung cancer cell motility.
Our data suggest that the developed cell-permeable R10-HOXA9 system may serve as a useful tool to prevent NSCLC cell migration and invasion.
KeywordsNon-small cell lung cancer Invasion Migration Homeobox A9 Cell-penetrating peptide
This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017R1A2B4003684) and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1A6A1A03015713).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures involving animal experiments were approved by the Animal Research Ethics Committee of the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology.
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