Slug promotes survival during metastasis through suppression of Puma-mediated apoptosis

Seaho Kim, Jiahong Yao, Kimita Suyama, Xia Qian, Binzhi Qian, Sanmay Bandyopadhyay, Olivier Loudig, Carlos De Leon-Rodriguez, Zhen Ni Zhou, Jeffrey Segall, Fernando Macian, Larry Norton, Rachel B Hazan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Tumor cells must overcome apoptosis to survive throughout metastatic dissemination and distal organ colonization. Here, we show in the Polyoma Middle T mammary tumor model that N-cadherin (Cdh2) expression causes Slug (Snai2) upregulation, which in turn promotes carcinoma cell survival. Slug was dramatically upregulated in metastases relative to primary tumors. Consistent with a role in metastasis, Slug knockdown in carcinoma cells suppressed lung colonization by decreasing cell survival at metastatic sites, but had no effect on tumor cell invasion or extravasation. In support of this idea, Slug inhibition by shRNA sensitized tumor cells to apoptosis by DNA damage, resulting in caspase-3 and PARP cleavage. The prosurvival effect of Slug was found to be caused by direct repression of the proapoptotic gene, Puma (Bbc3), by Slug. Consistent with a pivotal role for a Slug-Puma axis in metastasis, inhibition of Puma by RNA interference in Slug-knockdown cells rescued lung colonization, whereas Puma overexpression in control tumor cells suppressed lung metastasis. The survival function of the Slug-Puma axis was confirmed in human breast cancer cells, where Slug knockdown increased Puma expression and inhibited lung colonization. This study demonstrates a pivotal role for Slug in carcinoma cell survival, implying that disruption of the Slug-Puma axis may impinge on the survival of metastatic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3695-706
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Survival
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms
  • RNA Interference
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins


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