Malignant progression in O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase-deficient esophageal cancer cells is associated with Ezrin protein

DNA Cell Biol. 2012 May;31(5):856-66. doi: 10.1089/dna.2011.1318. Epub 2011 Dec 23.


The abnormal function of O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is reported to be associated with the occurrence of various tumors and malignant tumor progression. However, little evidence is available to describe its role in esophageal carcinogenesis. To address this issue, we constructed a stable MGMT-silenced esophageal cancer cell line by RNA interference, and exposed the cells to N-methyl-N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) to investigate the role that MGMT plays in toxicity. During this time, we also observed the malignant behavior of cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry were used to detect and confirm the proteins that were differentially expressed in the MGMT-deficient and MGMT-proficient cells, which might be responsible for the malignant alteration of cells. Results showed that the IC(50) of MGMT-deficient and MGMT-proficient cells exposed to MNNG was 30 μM and 65 μM, respectively, and MGMT-deficient cells had more aggressive motility and invasive abilities compared with MGMT-proficient cells. Nineteen differentially expressed proteins were detected between the MGMT-deficient and MGMT-proficient cells, 14 of which were identified, including the membrane-cytoskeleton linker protein, Ezrin, which was confirmed by both mass spectrometry and western blot analysis. The correlation between MGMT, Ezrin expression, and the malignant behavior of one normal epithelial esophageal cell line and seven esophageal cancer lines is discussed. In conclusion, loss of MGMT expression leads EC109 esophageal cancer cells to have increased malignant behavior, which may correlate with its high Ezrin protein expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cricetinae
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Esophagus / metabolism
  • Esophagus / pathology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Guanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Guanine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mutation / genetics
  • O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase / deficiency*
  • O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Transfection


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • ezrin
  • Guanine
  • O-(6)-methylguanine
  • O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase