J Cancer 2016; 7(13):1824-1832. doi:10.7150/jca.15622

Research Paper

Potential Function of Exogenous Vimentin on the Activation of Wnt Signaling Pathway in Cancer Cells

Arun Satelli1*, Jiemiao Hu1*, Xueqing Xia1, Shulin Li1,2✉

1. Department of Pediatrics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas;
2. The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, Texas.
* Equal contributors


Cancer cell signaling, growth, morphology, proliferation and tumorigenic potential are largely depending on the signaling molecules present naturally in the tumor microenvironment and the identification of key molecules that drive the tumor progression is critical for the development of new modalities for the prevention of tumor progression. High concentrations of vimentin in the blood of cancer patients have been reported, however the function of blood circulating vimentin remains unknown. Here, we investigated the functional role of exogenously supplemented vimentin on colon cancer cells and examined the Wnt Signaling activation and cancer cell invasion. Vimentin when supplemented to the cancer cells remained bound to the surface of the cancer cells. Furthermore, bound vimentin activates Wnt signaling pathway as detectable by increased β-catenin accumulation in the nucleus with concomitant activation of β-catenin-dependent transcription of Wnt signaling downstream targets. Functionally, there was an increase in the rate of cellular invasion in these cancer cells upon binding with vimentin. Our results thus suggest that free vimentin in the tumor microenvironment acts as a positive regulator of the β-catenin signaling pathway, thus providing a basis for cancer invasive properties.

Keywords: Vimentin, Wnt Signaling, EMT, invasion, β-catenin.

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How to cite this article:
Satelli A, Hu J, Xia X, Li S. Potential Function of Exogenous Vimentin on the Activation of Wnt Signaling Pathway in Cancer Cells. J Cancer 2016; 7(13):1824-1832. doi:10.7150/jca.15622. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v07p1824.htm