Serglycin Is Involved in TGF-β Induced Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Is Highly Expressed by Immune Cells in Breast Cancer Tissue

Front Oncol. 2022 Apr 14;12:868868. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.868868. eCollection 2022.


Serglycin is a proteoglycan highly expressed by immune cells, in which its functions are linked to storage, secretion, transport, and protection of chemokines, proteases, histamine, growth factors, and other bioactive molecules. In recent years, it has been demonstrated that serglycin is also expressed by several other cell types, such as endothelial cells, muscle cells, and multiple types of cancer cells. Here, we show that serglycin expression is upregulated in transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Functional studies provide evidence that serglycin plays an important role in the regulation of the transition between the epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes, and it is a significant EMT marker gene. We further find that serglycin is more expressed by breast cancer cell lines with a mesenchymal phenotype as well as the basal-like subtype of breast cancers. By examining immune staining and single cell sequencing data of breast cancer tissue, we show that serglycin is highly expressed by infiltrating immune cells in breast tumor tissue.

Keywords: Single cell sequencing; breast cancer; epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); proteoglycans (PG); serglycin (SRGN); transforming growth factor beta (TGF- β); tumor infiltrating immune cells.