Snail Promotes Cancer Cell Proliferation via Its Interaction with the BIRC3

Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2022 Jul 1;30(4):380-388. doi: 10.4062/biomolther.2022.063. Epub 2022 Jun 17.


Snail is implicated in tumour growth and metastasis and is up-regulated in various human tumours. Although the role of Snails in epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which is particularly important in cancer metastasis, is well known, how they regulate tumour growth is poorly described. In this study, the possible molecular mechanisms of Snail in tumour growth were explored. Baculoviral inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) repeat-containing protein 3 (BIRC3), a co-activator of cell proliferation during tumourigenesis, was identified as a Snail-binding protein via a yeast two-hybrid system. Since BIRC3 is important for cell survival, the effect of BIRC3 binding partner Snail on cell survival was investigated in ovarian cancer cell lines. Results revealed that Bax expression was activated, while the expression levels of anti-apoptotic proteins were markedly decreased by small interfering RNA (siRNA) specific for Snail (siSnail). siSnail, the binding partner of siBIRC3, activated the tumour suppressor function of p53 by promoting p53 protein stability. Conversely, BIRC3 could interact with Snail, for this reason, the possibility of BIRC3 involvement in EMT was investigated. BIRC3 overexpression resulted in a decreased expression of the epithelial marker and an increased expression of the mesenchymal markers. siSnail or siBIRC3 reduced the mRNA levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. These results provide evidence that Snail promotes cell proliferation by interacting with BIRC3 and that BIRC3 might be involved in EMT via binding to Snail in ovarian cancer cells. Therefore, our results suggested the novel relevance of BIRC3, the binding partner of Snail, in ovarian cancer development.

Keywords: BIRC3; Ovarian cancer; P53; Proliferation; Snail; Yeast two-hybrid.