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Tn antigen is a truncated O-glycan, frequently detected in colorectal cancer (CRC), but its precise role in CRC metastasis is not well addressed. Here we investigated the effects of Core 1 β3Gal-T specific molecular chaperone (Cosmc) deletion-mediated Tn antigen exposure on CRC metastasis and its underlying mechanism. We first used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to knockout Cosmc, which is required for normal O-glycosylation, and thereby obtained Tn-positive CRC cells. We then investigated the biological consequences of Tn antigen expression in CRC. The results showed that Tn-positive cells exhibited an enhanced metastatic capability both in vitro and in vivo. A further analysis indicated that Tn antigen expression induced typical activation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Mechanistically, we found that H-Ras, which is known to drive EMT, was markedly up-regulated in Tn-positive cells, whereas knockdown of H-Ras suppressed Tn antigen induced activation of EMT. Furthermore, we confirmed that LS174T cells (Tn-positive) transfected with wild-type Cosmc, thus expressing no Tn antigen, had down-regulation of H-Ras expression and subsequent inhibition of EMT process. In addition, analysis of 438 samples in TCGA cohort demonstrated that Cosmc expression was reversely correlated with H-Ras, underscoring the significance of Tn antigen-H-Ras signalling in CRC patients. These data demonstrated that Cosmc deletion-mediated Tn antigen exposure promotes CRC metastasis, which is possibly mediated by H-Ras-induced EMT activation. © 2019 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine.


Zhe Liu, Jian Liu, Xichen Dong, Xin Hu, Yuliang Jiang, Lina Li, Tan Du, Lei Yang, Tao Wen, Guangyu An, Guosheng Feng. Tn antigen promotes human colorectal cancer metastasis via H-Ras mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition activation. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine. 2019 Mar;23(3):2083-2092

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PMID: 30637914

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