WASF3 provides the conduit to facilitate invasion and metastasis in breast cancer cells through HER2/HER3 signaling

Yong Teng, Wenhu Pi, Y. Wang, John Kenneth Cowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The WASF3 gene is overexpressed in high-grade breast cancer and promotes invasion and metastasis, but does not affect proliferation. The HER2/ERBB2/NEU gene is also frequently overexpressed in breast cancer, and has been shown to promote invasion and metastasis in these tumors. Here, we show that WASF3 is present in the HER2 immunocomplex and suppression of WASF3 function leads to suppression of invasion even in the presence of HER2 expression. Overexpression of both HER2 and WASF3 in non-metastatic MCF7 breast cancer cells promotes invasion and metastasis more significantly than either gene alone. HER2 forms homodimers as well as heterodimers with other HER family members and we now show that the ability of WASF3 to promote invasion is highly dependent on the HER2/HER3 heterodimer. The engagement of WASF3 with the HER2/HER3 complex facilitates its phospho-activation and transcriptional upregulation, which is facilitated by HER2/HER3 activation of JAK/STAT signaling. In breast cancer cells overexpressing HER2, therefore, WASF3 is specifically required to facilitate the invasion/metastasis response. Targeting WASF3, therefore, could be a potential therapeutic approach to suppress metastasis of HER2-overexpressing breast tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4633-4640
Number of pages8
JournalOncogene
Volume35
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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