Induction of galectin-1 by TLR-dependent PI3K activation enhances epithelial-mesenchymal transition of metastatic ovarian cancer cells

The expression of different toll-like receptors (TLRs) on tumor cells has been associated with disease aggressiveness, treatment resistance, and poor prognosis. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway is considered critical for cancer cell survival and proliferation. Thus, we investigated the effect of TLR-stimulated PI3K activation on the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of primary (Caov-3) and metastatic (SK‑OV‑3) epithelial ovarian cancer cell lines in this study. TLR engagement with various ligands promoted the expression of class IA PI3K (p110α, p110β, and p110δ) and increased the expression of mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin, Slug, Vimentin, Snail, α-SMA, and TCF) in SK‑OV‑3 cells. The migratory activity and secretion of EMT-related cytokines of SK‑OV‑3 were significantly higher compared to those of Caov-3 after activation with TLR agonist. Although the invasive capacity and production of EMT-related cytokines of LPS-stimulated SK‑OV‑3 cells were significantly suppressed by all pharmacological inhibitors of the p110 isoform, the Syk/Src-dependent p110β isoform prominently attenuated migration activity. In contrast, the production of IL-10 and galectin-1 was mainly affected by the p110δ isoform. Gene silencing of TLR4 and galectin-1 with siRNA decreased the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2) and MMP9 and reduced mesenchymal markers in LPS-treated SK‑OV‑3 cells. This study demonstrated that TLR-mediated PI3K activation modulated the invasion and metastasis of ovarian cancer through the production of galectin-1, suggesting that inhibition of the p110 isoform is a promising therapeutic approach against metastatic ovarian cancer.

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