Inactivation of ErbB3 by siRNA promotes apoptosis and attenuates growth and invasiveness of human lung adenocarcinoma cell line A549

Oncogene. 2005 Mar 10;24(11):1847-59. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208381.


The ErbB3 receptor and the downstream signaling kinase Akt are implicated in proliferation of lung adenocarcinoma cells. Inhibition by siRNAs to ErbB3 and Akt isoforms 1, 2 and 3 was utilized to investigate the contribution of these molecules to tumor survival, spreading and invasiveness, and the roles of specific Akt isoforms. ErbB3 siRNA stably and dose-dependently suppressed ErbB3 protein for 2 days or more, and reduced cell numbers, by both suppressing cell cycle and causing apoptosis and necrosis. It also inhibited soft agar growth, cell motility and migration, and invasiveness. Akt1, 2 and 3 siRNAs had similar suppressive effects on cell number, apoptosis/necrosis and soft agar growth. However, although Akt1 siRNA had no effect on cell migration or invasion, Akt2 siRNA effectively suppressed both activities, and Akt3 siRNA had moderate effectiveness. In A549 cells, ErbB3 is indicated as having major effects on cell division, survival, motility, migration and invasiveness. All three Akt isoforms are to varying degrees involved in these cell behaviors, with Akt2 especially implicated in migration and invasion. ErbB3 and the Akts are promising targets for therapy, and siRNAs may be useful for this purpose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • DNA Primers
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Receptor, ErbB-3 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, ErbB-3 / genetics
  • Transfection


  • DNA Primers
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptor, ErbB-3
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • AKT2 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt