SRGN-TGFβ2 regulatory loop confers invasion and metastasis in triple-negative breast cancer

Oncogenesis. 2017 Jul 10;6(7):e360. doi: 10.1038/oncsis.2017.53.


Patients with triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) are at a high risk for a recurrent or metastatic disease, and the molecular mechanisms associated with this risk are unclear. Proteoglycan serglycin (SRGN) proteins are involved in tumor metastasis, but their role in TNBC has not yet been elucidated. This study investigates the SRGN gene expression and how it regulates TGFβ2 and the downstream signaling of TGFβ2 in TNBC cells and tissues. Our results show that SRGN mRNA and protein expression levels were significantly higher in TNBC cell lines and tumor tissues than that in non-TNBC cells and tissues. We inhibited SRGN expression and protein secretion using shRNA and we observed this inhibited the invasive motility of TNBC cancer cells in vitro and metastasis of TNBC cancer cells in vivo. SRGN protein treatment increased the expression and secretion of transforming growth factor-β2 (TGFβ2) by activating CD44/CREB1 signaling and promoted epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in TNBC cells. Moreover, TGFβ2 treatment increased the mRNA and protein expression of the SRGN gene by activating Smad3 to target the SRGN relative promoter domain in TNBC cells. Our findings demonstrate that SRGN interacts with TGFβ2 which regulates TNBC metastasis via the autocrine and paracrine routes. SRGN could serve as a potential target for development of agents or therapeutics for the TNBC.