Plakophilin3 loss leads to an increase in lipocalin2 expression, which is required for tumour formation

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Abstract

An increase in tumour formation and metastasis are observed upon plakophilin3 (PKP3) loss. To identify pathways downstream of PKP3 loss that are required for increased tumour formation, a gene expression analysis was performed, which demonstrated that the expression of lipocalin2 (LCN2) was elevated upon PKP3 loss and this is consistent with expression data from human tumour samples suggesting that PKP3 loss correlates with an increase in LCN2 expression. PKP3 loss leads to an increase in invasion, tumour formation and metastasis and these phenotypes were dependent on the increase in LCN2 expression. The increased LCN2 expression was due to an increase in the activation of p38 MAPK in the HCT116 derived PKP3 knockdown clones as LCN2 expression decreased upon inhibition of p38 MAPK. The phosphorylated active form of p38 MAPK is translocated to the nucleus upon PKP3 loss and is dependent on complex formation between p38 MAPK and PKP3. WT PKP3 inhibits LCN2 reporter activity in PKP3 knockdown cells but a PKP3 mutant that fails to form a complex with p38 MAPK cannot suppress LCN2 promoter activity. Further, LCN2 expression is decreased upon loss of p38β, but not p38α, in the PKP3 knockdown cells. These results suggest that PKP3 loss leads to an increase in the nuclear translocation of p38 MAPK and p38β MAPK is required for the increase in LCN2 expression.

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