The CCL2/CCR2 axis enhances IL-6-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition by cooperatively activating STAT3-Twist signaling
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The pattern of secreted factors in the tumor microenvironment has been shown to initiate tumor epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); however, little is known about their interplay undergoing this phenotypic switch. In this study, we revealed obvious coactions of cytokine IL-6 and chemokine CCL2 during EMT induction. We found that IL-6 effectively induced EMT and promoted tumor cell invasion, which could be markedly enhanced by addition of CCL2 in a CCR2-dependent manner. IL-6 and CCL2 induced each other and cooperatively elicited STAT3 phosphorylation; conversely, STAT3 regulated the production of IL-6 and CCL2, thus constituting a positive feedback loop to maintain and amplify STAT3 signaling, consequently promoting additional EMT events. Furthermore, CCL2 greatly enhanced IL-6-induced EMT events mainly by upregulating the expression of Twist. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of STAT3 disrupted STAT3-centered loop and markedly suppressed Twist expression as well as IL-6/CCL2-mediated EMT induction. Thus, our findings highlighted the synergy of the two secreted factors of tumor microenvironment, in regulating transformed properties of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
KeywordsIL-6 CCL2 Coaction Epithelial-mesenchymal transition Tumor microenvironment Metastasis
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