The extent of tight junction (TJ) formation is one of many factors that regulate motility, invasion, and metastasis. Claudins are required for the formation and maintenance of TJs. Claudin-3 (CLDN3) and claudin-4 (CLDN4) are highly expressed in the majority of ovarian cancers.We report here that CLDN3 and CLDN4 each serve to constrain the growth of human 2008 cancer xenografts and limit metastatic potential. Knockdown of CLDN3 increased in vivo growth rate by 2.3-fold and knockdown of CLDN4 by 3.7-fold in the absence of significant change in in vitro growth rate. Both types of tumors exhibited increase in birth rate as measured by Ki67 staining and decrease in death rate as reflected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. Knockdown of either claudin did not alter expression of other TJ protein but did reduce TJ formation asmeasured by transepithelial resistance and paracellular flux of dextran, enhance migration and invasion in in vitro assays, and increase lung colonization following intravenous injection. Knockdown of CLDN3 and CLDN4 increased total lung metastatic burden by 1.7-fold and 2.4-fold, respectively. Loss of either CLDN3 or CLDN4 resulted in down-regulation of E-cadherin mRNA and protein, increased inhibitory phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), and activation of β-catenin pathway signaling as evidenced by increases in nuclear β-catenin, the dephosphorylated form of the protein, and transcriptional activity of β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF).We conclude that both CLDN3 and CLDN4 mediate interactions with other cells in vivo that restrain growth and metastatic potential by sustaining expression of E-cadherin and limiting β-catenin signaling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research