Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Xin Hua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 1665, Kongjiang Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai, 200000, People's Republic of China. [Email]
BACKGROUND : Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains one of the most lethal gynecologic cancers, and its pathogenetic mechanism remains unclear. Here we show that MUC16 promotes the translocation of p120-catenin (p120ctn) to the cytoplasm and consequently activates ras homolog (Rho) GTPases RhoA/Cdc42 activation to modulate the proliferation and migration abilities of EOC cells. METHODS : We collect 94 ovarian cancer (OC) patients' tissue samples to constitute tissue microarray (TMA) and analyze the MUC16 and p120ctn expression levels. Lentivirus transfection is used to overexpress cytoplasmic tail domain (CTD) of MUC16 and CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing system is firstly used to knock out MUC16 in EOC cells. The proliferation or migration ability of cells is analyzed by MTS or migration assay. RESULTS : We find that MUC16 and p120ctn are aberrantly overexpressed in 94 clinical OC samples compared with benign ovarian tumors (BOT). MUC16 is a critical inducer of the proliferation and migration of EOC cells and the CTD of MUC16 plays an important role during this process. In addition, we reveal the relationship between MUC16 and p120ctn, which has not previously been studied. We show that MUC16 promotes the translocation of p120ctn to the cytoplasm and consequently activates Rho GTPases to modulate the proliferation and migration abilities of EOC cells. The cell proliferation and migration abilities induced by MUC16 are mediated by p120ctn through RhoA/Cdc42 activation. CONCLUSIONS : The highly expressed MUC16 promotes the translocation of p120ctn to the cytoplasm, where it activates RhoA/Cdc42 to modulate the proliferation and migration abilities of EOC cells. These findings may provide new targets for the treatment of EOC.