Upregulation of dual-specificity phosphatase-26 is required for transforming growth factor β1(TGFβ1)-induced Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in A549 and PANC1 cells

Mol Biol Rep. 2022 Nov;49(11):10195-10204. doi: 10.1007/s11033-022-07893-1. Epub 2022 Sep 2.


Background: Transforming Growth Factor β (TGFβ) proteins are potent inducers of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in tumor cells. Although mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family has been shown to be involved in TGFβ-induced EMT, role of Dual Specificity Phosphatases (DUSP), key regulators of MAPK activity, in TGFβ-induced EMT is largely unkonwn.

Methods and results: Real-time qPCR analyses were performed to determine the effect of TGFβ1 on expression of EMT genes and DUSP proteins in the non-small cell lung cancer model A549 and pancreatic adenocarcinoma model PANC1 cells. Western blot analyses were conducted to study the changes in protein levels of EMT proteins and select DUSP proteins, as well as phosphorylations of MAPK proteins upon TGFβ1 stimulation. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) was utilized to reduce expressions of DUSP genes. We observed that the EMT phenotype coincided with increases in phosphorylations of the MAPK proteins ERK1/2, p38MAPK, and JNK upon TGFβ1 stimulation. Real-time qPCR analysis showed increases in DUSP15 and DUSP26 mRNA levels and Western blot analysis confirmed the increase in DUSP26 protein levels in both A549 and PANC1 cells treated with TGFβ1 relative to control. Silencing of DUSP26 expression by siRNA markedly suppressed the effect of TGFβ1 on E-cadherin and mesenchymal genes in the cells.

Conclusions: Data provided suggest that TGFβ1 modulates the expression of DUSP genes and that upregulation of DUSP26 may be required for TGFβ1-promoted EMT in A549 and PANC1 cells. Further studies should be carried out to elucidate the requirement of individual DUSPs in TGFβ1-associated EMT in tumor cells.

Keywords: DUSP26; Dual-specifity phosphatases; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; MAPK; TGFβ1.

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Adenocarcinoma*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases / genetics
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases / pharmacology
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / pharmacology
  • Up-Regulation


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases