Contribution of Sialidase NEU1 to Suppression of Metastasis of Human Colon Cancer Cells Through Desialylation of Integrin beta4

Oncogene. 2009 Mar 5;28(9):1218-29. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.471. Epub 2009 Jan 19.


We previously found an inverse relationship between sialidase Neu1 expression and metastatic potential of murine cancer cells. To elucidate the mechanism underlying the cellular events, the human sialidase gene NEU1 was overexpressed or silenced in colon cancer HT-29 cells. When NEU1-overexpressing cells were injected transsplenically into mice, in vivo liver metastasis was significantly reduced. NEU1 suppressed cell migration, invasion and adhesion in vitro, whereas the silencing resulted in the opposite. One of the major molecular changes by NEU1 was decreased sialylation of integrin beta4, assessed by PNA- and MAL-II-lectin blotting of immunoprecipitates with anti-integrin beta4 antibody. The desialylation was accompanied by decreased phosphorylation of the integrin followed by attenuation of focal adhesion kinase and Erk1/2 pathway. Moreover, NEU1 caused downregulation of matrix metalloproteinase-7, overexpression of which is associated with cancer metastasis. Treatment of the cells with GalNAc-alpha-O-benzyl, an inhibitor of O-glycosylation, showed increased PNA-positive integrin beta4 with its decreased phosphorylation, indicating that sialic acid removal from the integrin O-glycans results in the decreased phosphorylation. Biotinylation and immunofluorescence staining exhibited some NEU1 molecules to be at the cell surface accessible to the integrin. These results suggest that NEU1 is important in regulation of integrin beta4-mediated signaling, leading to suppression of metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Colonic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Integrin beta4 / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 7 / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Signal Transduction


  • Integrin beta4
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • NEU1 protein, human
  • Neuraminidase
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 7
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid