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Pro-metastatic functions of Notch signaling is mediated by CYR61 in breast cells
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Metastasis is the main cause of cancer related deaths, and unfolding the molecular mechanisms underlying metastatic progression is critical for the development of novel therapeutic approaches. Notch is one of the key signaling pathways involved in breast tumorigenesis and metastasis. Notch activation induces pro-metastatic processes such as migration, invasion and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). However, molecular mediators working downstream of Notch in these processes are not fully elucidated. CYR61 is a secreted protein implicated in metastasis, and its inhibition by a monoclonal antibody suppresses metastasis in xenograft breast tumors, indicating the clinical importance of CYR61 targeting. Here, we aimed to investigate whether CYR61 works downstream of Notch in inducing pro-metastatic phenotypes in breast cells. We showed that CYR61 expression is positively regulated by Notch activity in breast cells. Notch1-induced migration, invasion and anchorage independent growth of a normal breast cell line, MCF10A, were abrogated by CYR61 silencing. Furthermore, upregulation of core EMT markers upon Notch1-activation was impaired in the absence of CYR61. However, reduced migration and invasion of highly metastatic cell line, MDA MB 231, cells upon Notch inhibition was not dependent on CYR61 downregulation. In conclusion, we showed that in normal breast cell line MCF10A, CYR61 is a mediator of Notch1-induced pro-metastatic phenotypes partly via induction of EMT. Our results imply CYR61 as a prominent therapeutic candidate for a subpopulation of breast tumors with high Notch activity.