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Jagged1-mediated Notch activation induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition through Slug-induced repression of E-cadherin.

Leong K.G., Niessen K., Kulic I., Raouf A., Eaves C., Pollet I., Karsan A.

Aberrant expression of Jagged1 and Notch1 are associated with poor outcome in breast cancer. However, the reason that Jagged1 and/or Notch overexpression portends a poor prognosis is unknown. We identify Slug, a transcriptional repressor, as a novel Notch target and show that elevated levels of Slug correlate with increased expression of Jagged1 in various human cancers. Slug was essential for Notch-mediated repression of E-cadherin, which resulted in beta-catenin activation and resistance to anoikis. Inhibition of ligand-induced Notch signaling in xenografted Slug-positive/E-cadherin-negative breast tumors promoted apoptosis and inhibited tumor growth and metastasis. This response was associated with down-regulated Slug expression, reexpression of E-cadherin, and suppression of active beta-catenin. Our findings suggest that ligand-induced Notch activation, through the induction of Slug, promotes tumor growth and metastasis characterized by epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and inhibition of anoikis.

J. Exp. Med. 204:2935-2948(2007) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]