The Twist box domain is required for Twist1-induced prostate cancer metastasis

Rajendra P. Gajula, Sivarajan T. Chettiar, Russell D. Williams, Saravanan Thiyagarajan, Yoshinori Kato, Khaled Aziz, Ruoqi Wang, Nishant Gandhi, Aaron T. Wild, Farhad Vesuna, Jinfang Ma, Tarek Salih, Jessica Cades, Elana Fertig, Shyam Biswal, Timothy F. Burns, Christine H. Chung, Charles M. Rudin, Joseph M. Herman, Russell K. HalesVenu Raman, Steven S. An, Phuoc T. Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Twist1, a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, plays a key role during development and is a master regulator of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) that promotes cancer metastasis. Structure-function relationships of Twist1 to cancer-related phenotypes are underappreciated, so we studied the requirement of the conserved Twist box domain for metastatic phenotypes in prostate cancer. Evidence suggests that Twist1 is overexpressed in clinical specimens and correlated with aggressive/metastatic disease. Therefore, we examined a transactivation mutant, Twist1-F191G, in prostate cancer cells using in vitro assays, which mimic various stages of metastasis. Twist1 overexpression led to elevated cytoskeletal stiffness and cell traction forces at the migratory edge of cells based on biophysical single-cell measurements. Twist1 conferred additional cellular properties associated with cancer cell metastasis including increased migration, invasion, anoikis resistance, and anchorage-independent growth. The Twist box mutant was defective for these Twist1 phenotypes in vitro. Importantly, we observed a high frequency of Twist1-induced metastatic lung tumors and extrathoracic metastases in vivo using the experimental lung metastasis assay. The Twist box was required for prostate cancer cells to colonize metastatic lung lesions and extrathoracic metastases. Comparative genomic profiling revealed transcriptional programs directed by the Twist box that were associated with cancer progression, such as Hoxa9. Mechanistically, Twist1 bound to the Hoxa9 promoter and positively regulated Hoxa9 expression in prostate cancer cells. Finally, Hoxa9 was important for Twist1-induced cellular phenotypes associated with metastasis. These data suggest that the Twist box domain is required for Twist1 transcriptional programs and prostate cancer metastasis. Implications: Targeting the Twist box domain of Twist1 may effectively limit prostate cancer metastatic potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1400
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Gajula, R. P., Chettiar, S. T., Williams, R. D., Thiyagarajan, S., Kato, Y., Aziz, K., Wang, R., Gandhi, N., Wild, A. T., Vesuna, F., Ma, J., Salih, T., Cades, J., Fertig, E., Biswal, S., Burns, T. F., Chung, C. H., Rudin, C. M., Herman, J. M., ... Tran, P. T. (2013). The Twist box domain is required for Twist1-induced prostate cancer metastasis. Molecular Cancer Research, 11(11), 1387-1400. https://doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-13-0218-T