In vitro functional characterisation of IGF-I : VN-induced breast cancer progression

Kashyap, Abhishek S. (2012) In vitro functional characterisation of IGF-I : VN-induced breast cancer progression. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Members of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) family have been shown to play critical roles in normal growth and development, as well as in tumour biology. The IGF system is complex and the biological effects of the IGFs are determined by their diverse interactions between many molecules, including their interactions with extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Recent studies have demonstrated that IGFs associate with the ECM protein vitronectin (VN) through IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP) and that this interaction modulates IGF-stimulated biological functions, namely cell migration and cell survival through the cooperative involvement of the type-I IGF receptor (IGF-1R) and VN-binding integrins. Since IGFs play important roles in the transformation and progression of breast cancer and VN has been found to be over-expressed at the leading edge of breast tumours, this project aimed to describe the effects of IGF-I:VN interactions on breast cell function. This was undertaken to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying IGF-I:VN-induced responses and to design inhibitors to block the effects of such interactions.

The studies described herein demonstrate that the increase in migration of MCF-7 breast cancer cells in response to the IGF-I:IGFBP-5:VN complex is accompanied by differential expression of genes known to be involved in migration, invasion and/or survival, including Tissue-factor (TF), Stratifin (SFN), Ephrin-B2, Sharp-2 and PAI-1. This „migration gene signature‟ was confirmed using real-time PCR analysis. Substitution of the native IGF-I within the IGF-I:IGFBP:VN complex with the IGF-I analogue, [L24][A31]-IGF-I, which has a reduced affinity for the IGF-1R, failed to stimulate cell migration and interestingly, also failed to induce the differential gene expression. This supports the involvement of the IGF-1R in mediating these changes in gene expression. Furthermore, lentiviral shRNA-mediated stable knockdown of TF and SFN completely abrogated the increased cell migration induced by IGF-I:IGFBP:VN complexes in MCF-7 cells. Indeed, when these cells were grown in 3D Matrigel™ cultures a decrease in the overall size of the 3D spheroids in response to the IGF-I:IGFBP:VN complexes was observed compared to the parental MCF-7 cells. This suggests that TF and SFN have a role in complex-stimulated cell survival. Moreover, signalling studies performed on cells with the reduced expression of either TF or SFN had a decreased IGF-1R activation, suggesting the involvement of signalling pathways downstream of IGF-1R in TF- and/or SFN-mediated cell migration and cell survival. Taken together, these studies provide evidence for a common mechanism activated downstream of the IGF-1R that induces the expression of the „migration gene signature‟ in response to the IGF-I:IGFBP:VN complex that confers breast cancer cells the propensity to migrate and survive.

Given the functional significance of the interdependence of ECM and growth factor (GF) interactions in stimulating processes key to breast cancer progression, this project aimed at developing strategies to prevent such growth factor:ECM interactions in an effort to inhibit the downstream functional effects. This may result in the reduction in the levels of ECM-bound IGF-I present in close proximity to the cells, thereby leading to a reduction in the stimulation of IGF-1R present on the cell surface. Indeed, the inhibition of IGF-I-mediated effects through the disruption of its association with ECM would not alter the physiological levels of IGF-I and potentially only exert effects in situations where abnormal over expression of ECM proteins are found; namely carcinomas and hyperproliferative diseases.

In summary, this PhD project has identified novel, innovative and realistic strategies that can be used in vitro to inhibit the functions exerted by the IGF-I:IGFBP:VN multiprotein complexes critical for cancer progression, with a potential to be translated into in vivo investigations. Furthermore, TF and SFN were found to mediate IGF-I:IGFBP:VN-induced effects, thereby revealing their potential to be used as therapeutic targets or as predictive biomarkers for the efficacy of IGF-1R targeting therapies in breast cancer patients. In addition to its therapeutic and clinical scope, this PhD project has significantly contributed to the understanding of the role of the IGF system in breast tumour biology by providing valuable new information on the mechanistic events underpinning IGF-I:VN-mediated effects on breast cell functions. Furthermore, this is the first instance where favourable binding sites for IGF-II, IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-5 on VN have been identified. Taken together, this study has functionally characterised the interactions between IGF-I and VN and through innovative strategies has provided a platform for the development of novel therapies targeting these interactions and their downstream effects.

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ID Code: 62165
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: An embargo of two years has been granted by the Faculty.
Keywords: antisense RNA, breast, breast cancer, cancer progression, extracellular matrix, gene knockdown, insulin-like growth factor, insulin-like growth factor binding protein, insulin-like growth factor receptor, lentivirus, metastasis, migration, proliferation, shRNA mediated down-regulation, small molecule inhibitors, stratifin, survival, therapeutics, three-dimensional cultures, tissue factor, viability, vitronectin
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 Aug 2013 04:54
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2016 04:34

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