Ezrin promotes stem cell properties in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Vesselin R. Penchev, Yu Tai Chang, Asma Begum, Theodore Ewachiw, Christian Gocke, Joey Li, Ross H. McMillan, Qiuju Wang, Robert Anders, Luigi Marchionni, Anirban Maitra, Aykut Uren, Zeshaan Rasheed, William Matsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Self-renewal maintains the long-term clonogenic growth that is required for cancer relapse and progression, but the cellular processes regulating this property are not fully understood. In many diseases, self-renewal is enhanced in cancer stem cells (CSC), and in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), CSCs are characterized by the surface expression of CD44. In addition to cell adhesion, CD44 impacts cell shape and morphology by modulating the actin cytoskeleton via Ezrin, a member of the Ezrin/Radixin/Moesin (ERM) family of linker proteins. We examined the expression of Ezrin in PDAC cells and found higher levels of both total and activated Ezrin in CSCs compared with bulk tumor cells. We also found that the knockdown of Ezrin in PDAC cells decreased clonogenic growth, self-renewal, cell migration, and CSC frequency in vitro as well as tumor initiation in vivo. These effects were associated with cytoskeletal changes that are similar to those occurring during the differentiation of normal stem cells, and the inhibition of actin remodeling reversed the impact of Ezrin loss. Finally, targeting Ezrin using a small-molecule inhibitor limited the self-renewal of clinically derived low-passage PDAC xenografts. Our findings demonstrate that Ezrin modulates CSCs properties and may represent a novel target for the treatment of PDAC. Implications: Our findings demonstrate that Ezrin modulates CSCs' properties and may represent a novel target for the treatment of PDAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-936
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Penchev, V. R., Chang, Y. T., Begum, A., Ewachiw, T., Gocke, C., Li, J., McMillan, R. H., Wang, Q., Anders, R., Marchionni, L., Maitra, A., Uren, A., Rasheed, Z., & Matsui, W. (2019). Ezrin promotes stem cell properties in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Molecular Cancer Research, 17(4), 929-936. https://doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0367