Cadherin subtype switching from E-cadherin to N-cadherin is associated with the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process required for invasion and dissemination of carcinoma cells. We found that N-cadherin is expressed in human and mouse pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), suggesting that N-cadherin may also have a role in early-stage pancreatic cancer. To investigate the role of N-cadherin in mouse PanIN (mPanIN), we simultaneously activated oncogenic K-rasG12D and deleted the N-cadherin (Cdh2) gene in the murine pancreas. Genetic ablation of N-cadherin (N-cad KO) caused hyperproliferation, accelerated mPanIN progression, and early tumor development in K-rasG12D mice. Decreased E-cadherin and redistribution of β-catenin accompanied the loss of N-cadherin in pancreatic ductal epithelial cells (PDEC). Nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and its transcription co-activator Tcf4 led to activation of Wnt/β-catenin target genes. Unexpectedly, loss of N-cadherin in the K-rasG12D model resulted in increased mPanIN progression and tumor incidence. These in vivo results demonstrate for the first time that N-cadherin functions as a growth suppressor in the context of oncogenic K-ras.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Jun 23 2016|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research