Studies from Dr. Maria Kukuruzinska’s laboratory have identified a novel role for protein N-glycosylation in driving oral cancer cell migration, likely to be involved in oral cancer progression and metastasis. Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter praised the efforts and discovery, “This work supports GSDM’s effort to promote research in oral cancer and to increase its scholarly visibility through publications in high impact journals.”
Recent studies from this group have demonstrated that protein N-glycosylation was coordinately regulated with canonical Wnt signaling and E-cadherin adhesion via positive and negative feedback mechanisms. Moreover, these interactions were dysregulated in oral cancer due to aberrant and unchecked activation of the N-glycosylation/canoncial Wnt signaling feedback loop and diminished E-cadherin adhesion. They now show that in oral cancer, inappropriately activated N-glycosylation and canonical Wnt signaling converge to upregulate collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1), an N-glycoprotein implicated in tumor invasion and metastasis. The authors propose that targeting N-glycosylation/canonical Wnt/E-cadherin network may represent an effective strategy for therapeutic intervention for oral cancer. Moreover, since CTHRC1 influences tumor invasion and metastasis of many aggressive neoplasms, these findings may reveal relevant mechanisms for the pathogenesis of other cancers.
This work, by Gangli Liu, Pritam K. Sengupta, Basem Jamal, Hsiao-Ying Yang, Meghan P. Bouchie, Volkhard Lindner, Xaralabos Varelas, and Maria A. Kukuruzinska, “N-glycosylation induces collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 and drives oral cancer cell migration,” is described in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, published online May 2013.