During tumor development and ongoing metastasis the acquisition of mesenchymal cell traits by epithelial carcinoma cells is achieved through a programmed phenotypic shift called the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, EMT. EMT contributes to increased cancer cell motility and invasiveness mainly through invadosomes, the adhesion structures that accompany the mesenchymal migration. The invadosomes and their associated proteases restrict protease activity to areas of the cell in direct contact with the ECM, thus precisely controlling cell invasion. Our data prove that Snail-overexpressing HT-29 cells that imitate the phenotype of colon cancer cells in the early stage of the EMT showed an increase in the expression and pericellular activity of cathepsin B. It appears that the pericellular localization of cathepsin B, also observed in colon and rectum adenocarcinoma tissue samples, plays a key role in its function.
Keywords: EMT; Snail; mesenchymal type of migration; proteases.