University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

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Article Preprint


Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Biological Factors | Cancer Biology | Cell Biology | Cells | Enzymes and Coenzymes | Neoplasms


Leptin is one of the main adipokines secreted in breast tissue, and has been associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and tumor progression in breast cancer. Leptin promotes EMT, cell migration and invasion in epithelial breast cells, leading to tumor progression. However, the molecular mechanism that underlies these events is not fully understood; however, the activation of different signaling pathways appears to be essential. In this sense, the effect of leptin on the activation of kinases like Src and FAK, which regulate signaling pathways that activate the EMT program, has not been completely described. Therefore, we investigated the involvement of these kinases using an in vitro model for leptin-induced EMT process in the non-tumorigenic MCF10A cell line. To this end, MCF10A cells were stimulated with leptin, and Src and FAK activation was assessed. Specific events occurring during EMT were also evaluated in the presence or absence of the kinases’s chemical inhibitors PP2 and PF-573228. For instance, we tested the expression and subcellular localization of the EMT-related transcription factors Twist and □-catenin, by western blot and immunofluorescence. We also evaluated the secretion and activation of matrix metalloproteases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) by gelatin zymography. Invasiveness properties of leptin-stimulated cells were determined by invadopodia formation assays, and by the transwell chamber method. Our results showed that leptin promotes EMT through Src and FAK activation, which leads to the secretion and activation of MMP-2 and MMP-9, invadopodia formation and cell invasion in MCF10A cells. In conclusion, our data suggest that leptin promotes an increase in the expression levels of Twist and □-catenin, the secretion of MMP-2, MMP-9, the invadopodia formation and invasion in MCF10A cells in a Src and FAK-dependent manner.


Leptin, transcription factors, EMT, invasion, Src, FAK, Cell Biology

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bioRxiv 739169; doi: Link to preprint on bioRxiv service.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License