Krüppel-like Factor 5 (KLF5) is a zinc-finger transcription factor associated with cell cycle progression and cell survival. KLF5 plays a key role in mammalian intestinal epithelium development and maintenance, expressed at high levels in basal proliferating cells and low levels in terminally differentiated cells. Considering Barrett's esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma's (EAC) histopathological similarities to intestinal epithelium, we sought to determine KLF5’s role in BE and EAC, as well as KLF5’s possible connection to the sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway which is highly active in BE and EAC development. Low levels of KLF5 mRNA were found in BE cell lines and tissue– similar to what has been reported in differentiated intestinal epithelium. In contrast, higher KLF5 levels were observed in EAC cells and tissues. KLF5 knockdown in EAC cells caused significant decreases in cell migration, proliferation, and EAC-associated gene expression. Moreover, KLF5 knockdown led to decreased SHH signaling. These results suggest that KLF5 is connected to the SHH pathway in BE and EAC and may represent a potential drug target in EAC; further studies are now indicated to verify these findings and elucidate underlying mechanisms involved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research