Knockdown of MACC1 expression suppressed hepatocellular carcinoma cell migration and invasion and inhibited expression of MMP2 and MMP9

Mol Cell Biochem. 2013 Apr;376(1-2):21-32. doi: 10.1007/s11010-012-1545-y. Epub 2012 Dec 12.


Expression of MACC1 (metastasis-associated in colon cancer-1) protein is associated with metastasis of various human cancers. This study analyzed MACC1 protein expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue specimens and then investigated the effects of MACC1 knockdown on HCC cell migration and invasion, and gene expression levels. Sixty pairs of HCC and adjacent normal liver tissues from HCC patients were analyzed for MACC1 expression immunohistochemically. The HCC cell lines Hep3B, Huh7, MHCC97H, SMMC-7721, Bel-7402, and HepG2 and the normal liver cell line LO2 were used to assess expressions of MACC1 mRNA and MACC1 protein using qRT-PCR and western blot, respectively. MACC1 short hairpin RNA (shRNA) was used to knockdown MACC1 protein expression in Huh7 cells. Changes in the tumor phenotype of these cells were analyzed with wound healing assay and invasion assays, and differences in gene expression were evaluated via western blot. Immunofluorescence was used to locate MACC1 protein in the above cell lines. MACC1 was highly expressed in HCC tissues and the nuclear expression of MACC1 protein was associated with poor tumor differentiation and intrahepatic metastasis or portal invasion. Moreover, MACC1 mRNA and MACC1 protein was also expressed in HCC cell lines. Immunostaining showed that MACC1 protein was localized in both nuclei and cytoplasm of HCC cell lines and the nuclear localization of MACC1 protein was associated with increased aggressiveness of HCC in cell lines. Knockdown of MACC1 expression using MACC1-shRNA reduced Huh7 cell migration and invasion abilities, which was associated with downregulation of MMP2, MMP9, and c-Met proteins in Huh7 cells. Localization of MACC1 protein to the nucleus may predict HCC progression. Knockdown of MACC1 expression using MACC1 shRNA warrants further evaluation as a novel therapeutic strategy for control of HCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Reference Values
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • MACC1 protein, human
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9