1. The Breast Cancer, Cancer Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, China.
2. Department of Physiology/Changjiang Scholar's Laboratory, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, China.
3. Department of Breast Surgery, Huizhou Municipal Central Hospital, Huizhou 516000, China.
4. Department of General Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, China.
# These authors contributed equally.
Background: NOTCH receptor 3 (NOTCH3) and zinc finger E-box binding protein 1 (ZEB1) play important roles in breast cancer respectively. NOTCH3 maintains the luminal phenotype and inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer, while ZEB1 and NOTCH3 have the opposite effects.
Methods: Public databases were used to predict the expression of NOTCH3 and ZEB1 in breast cancer cell lines. The regulatory effect of NOTCH3 on ZEB1 expression was verified by western blot and RT-PCR. MiRNAs regulating ZEB1 expression were identified by using multiple databases and confirmed by reporter gene experiments. Cellular function experiments were conducted to evaluate the role of NOTCH3/miR-223/ZEB1 in the proliferation and invasion of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Results: NOTCH3 and ZEB1 have opposite expression pattern in MCF-7 cells that over-express LncATB or were incubated in TGF-β to induce EMT. Western blotting and RT-PCR showed that NOTCH3 could regulate expression of ZEB1. MiR-223 inhibited the proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells via down-regulating the expression of ZEB1. NOTCH3 inhibited the proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells via up-regulating the expression of miR-223. Clinically, high expression of NOTCH3, miR-223 or low expression of ZEB1 were related to good prognosis of breast cancer patients.
Conclusion: The current study reports a novel NOTCH3/miR-223/ZEB1 axis, which can inhibit the proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells, and may serve as a potential biomarker for the prognosis of breast cancer.
Keywords: NOTCH3, miR-223, ZEB1, breast cancer, metastasis