Plectin Promotes the Migration of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells Through Inducing F-actin Polymerization

XU Rushuang, YANG Lingxiao, SONG Guanbin


To explore the relationship between the expression of plectin and the migration of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which plectin expression affects the migration of HCC cells.Methods  First of all, Western blot was performed to determine the expression of plectin in normal hepatocytes and HCC cells. Secondly, a plectin-downregulated HCC cell strain was established and the control group (shNC group) and shPLEC group were set up. Each group was divided into a vehicle control group (shNC+DMSO group or shPLEC+DMSO group) and a F-actin cytoskeleton polymerization inducer Jasplakinolide group (shNC+Jasp group or shPLEC+Jasp group). Western blot was performed to determine the expression of plectin and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins, including N-cadherin, vimentin, and E-cadherin. HCC cell migration was evaluated by Transwell assay. KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) was used to analyze the signaling pathways related to plectin gene. The polymerization of F-actin was analyzed by immunofluorescence assay.Results  Compared with the normal hepatocytes, HCC cells showed high expression of plectin. Compared with those in the shNC group, the expression of plectin in the shPLEC group was decreased (P<0.05), the migration ability of HCC cells was weakened (P<0.05), and the EMT process was inhibited (with the expression of N-cadherin and vimentin being decreased and the expression of E-cadherin being increased) (P<0.05). KEGG analysis showed that the regulation of cytoskeletal F-actin was most closely associated with plectin and cytoskeletal F-actin depolymerized in the shPLEC group. After treatment with Jasplakinolide, an inducer of F-actin cytoskeleton polymerization, the migration ability of HCC cells in the shPLEC+Jasp group was enhanced compared with that of shPLEC+DMSO group (P<0.05) and the EMT process was restored (with the expression of N-cadherin and vimentin being increased and the expression of E-cadherin being decreased) (P<0.05). In addition, the polymerization of cytoskeletal F-actin in HCC cells was also restored.Conclusion  Plectin is highly expressed in HCC cells. Plectin promotes the migration and the EMT of HCC cells through inducing F-actin polymerization.

Keywords: Plectin,  Hepatocellular carcinoma cells,  Cell migration assays, Epithelial-mesenchymal transition,  Cytoskeleton,  F-actin  

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