Collagen XV Inhibits Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Cells

Clementz, A. G.; Mutolo, M. J.; Leir, S. H.; Morris, K. J.; Kucybala, K.; Harris, H.; Harris, A.

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 31; 8(8):e72250


Collagen XV (COLXV) is a secreted non-fibrillar collagen found within basement membrane (BM) zones of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Its ability to alter cellular growth in vitro and to reduce tumor burden and increase survival in vivo support a role as a tumor suppressor. Loss of COLXV during the progression of several aggressive cancers precedes basement membrane invasion and metastasis. The resultant lack of COLXV subjacent to the basement membrane and subsequent loss of its interactions with other proteins in this zone may directly impact tumor progression. Here we show that COLXV significantly reduces invasion of pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells through a collagen I (COLI) matrix. Moreover, we demonstrate that epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in these cells, which is recapitulated in vitro by cell scattering on a COLI substrate, is inhibited by over-expression of COLXV. We identify critical collagen-binding surface receptors on the tumor cells, including the discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1) and E-Cadherin (E-Cad), which interact with COLXV and appear to mediate its function. In the presence of COLXV, the intracellular redistribution of E-Cad from the cell periphery, which is associated with COLI-activated EMT, is inhibited and concurrently, DDR1 signaling is suppressed. Furthermore, continuous exposure of the pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells to high levels of COLXV suppresses endogenous levels of N-Cadherin (N-Cad). These data reveal a novel mechanism whereby COLXV can function as a tumor suppressor in the basement membrane zone.

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