MicroRNAs have added a new dimension to our understanding of tumorigenesis and associated processes like epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here, we show that miR-375 is elevated in epithelial-like breast cancer cells, and ectopic miR-375 expression suppresses EMT in mesenchymal-like breast cancer cells. We identified short stature homeobox 2 (SHOX2) as a miR-375 target, and miR-375-mediated suppression in EMT was reversed by forced SHOX2 expression. Ectopic SHOX2 expression can induce EMT in epithelial-like breast cancer cells, whereas SHOX2 knockdown diminishes EMT traits in mesenchymal-like breast cancer cells, demonstrating SHOX2 as an EMT inducer. We show that SHOX2 acts as a transcription factor to upregulate transforming growth factor β receptor I (TβR-I) expression, and TβR-I inhibitor LY364947 abolishes EMT elicited by ectopic SHOX2 expression, suggesting that transforming growth factor β signaling is essential for SHOX2-induced EMT. Manipulating SHOX2 abundance in breast cancer cells impact in vitro invasion and in vivo dissemination. Analysis of breast tumor microarray database revealed that high SHOX2 expression significantly correlates with poor patient survival. Our study supports a critical role of SHOX2 in breast tumorigenicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research