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Mol Cancer. 2014 Sep 25;13:222. doi:
BACKGROUND: The metastasis of hematogenous cancer cells is associated with abnormal glycosylation such as sialyl lewis antigens. Although the hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) plays important role in liver disease, the precise function of HBx on aberrant glycosylation for metastasis remains unclear.
METHODS: The human hepatocellular carcinoma tissues, HBx transgenic mice and HBx-transfected cells were used to check the correlation of expressions between HBx and Sialyl lewis antigen for cancer metastasis. To investigate whether expression levels of glycosyltransferases induced in HBx-transfected cells are specifically associated with sialyl lewis A (SLA) synthesis, which enhances metastasis by interaction of liver cancer cells with endothelial cells, ShRNA and siRNAs targeting specific glycosyltransferases were used.
RESULTS: HBx expression in liver cancer region of HCC is associated with the specific synthesis of SLA. Furthermore, the SLA was specifically induced both in liver tissues from HBx-transgenic mice and in in vitro HBx-transfected cells. HBx increased transcription levels and activities of α2-3 sialyltransferases (ST3Gal III), α1-3/4 fucosyltransferases III and VII (FUT III and VII) genes, which were specific for SLA synthesis, allowing dramatic cell-cell adhesion for metastatic potential. Interestingly, HBx specifically induced expression of N-acetylglucosamine-β1-3 galactosyltransferase V (β1-3GalT 5) gene associated with the initial synthesis of sialyl lewis A, but not β1-4GalT I. The β1-3GalT 5 shRNA suppressed SLA expression by HBx, blocking the adhesion of HBx-transfected cells to the endothelial cells. Moreover, β1-3GalT 5 silencing suppressed lung metastasis of HBx-transfected cells in in vivo lung metastasis system.
CONCLUSION: HBx targets the specific glycosyltransferases for the SLA synthesis and this process regulates hematogenous cancer cell adhesion to endothelial cells for cancer metastasis.
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