[Effect of transcriptional factor snail on epithelial-mesenchymal transition and tumor metastasis]

Ai Zheng. 2005 Nov;24(11):1301-5.
[Article in Chinese]


Background & objective: Transcription factor Snail mediates epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and is associated with tumor metastasis. This study was designed to observe the enhancive effect of Snail and the reverse effect of antisense-Snail on EMT of tumor cells, and explore the role of Snail in tumor metastasis.

Methods: Snail cDNA was transfected into canine renal epithelial cell line MDCK; antisense-Snail was transfected into human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB231. The expression of epithelial markers E-cadherin, beta-catenin and Cytokeratin 18, mesenchymal marker Fibronectin, metastasis-related marker matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and RhoA were detected by Western blot. The metastatic potential of tumor cells was examined by in vitro cell wound model and Boyden chamber invasion assay.

Results: The invasion potential of MDCK cells was enhanced after transfection of Snail. The expression of E-cadherin, beta-catenin, and Cytokeratin 18 was significantly lower in Snail-transfected MDCK cells than in control cells (P < 0.05); the expression of Fibronectin, MMP-2, and RhoA was significantly higher in Snail-transfected cells than in control cells (P < 0.05). Inhibiting the expression of Snail with antisense-Snail in MDA-MB231 cells led to opposite results.

Conclusion: Snail promotes EMT in normal epithelial cells, and inhibiting the expression of Snail may reverse EMT and suppress tumor metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / biosynthesis*
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cell Movement*
  • DNA, Antisense*
  • Dogs
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Keratin-18 / metabolism
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transfection
  • beta Catenin / metabolism
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Cadherins
  • DNA, Antisense
  • Fibronectins
  • Keratin-18
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • beta Catenin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein