Gastrin activates autophagy and increases migration and survival of gastric adenocarcinoma cells
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Cancer. 2017, 17(68) 10.1186/s12885-017-3055-5
Background: The peptide hormone gastrin exerts a growth-promoting effect in both normal and malignant gastrointestinal tissue. Gastrin mediates its effect via the cholecystokinin 2 receptor (CCKBR/CCK2R). Although a substantial part of the gastric adenocarcinomas express gastrin and CCKBR, the role of gastrin in tumor development is not completely understood. Autophagy has been implicated in mechanisms governing cytoprotection, tumor growth, and contributes to chemoresistance. This study explores the role of autophagy in response to gastrin in gastric adenocarcinoma cell lines. Methods: Immunoblotting, survival assays and the xCELLigence system were used to study gastrin induced autophagy. Chemical inhibitors of autophagy were utilized to assess the role of this process in the regulation of cellular responses induced by gastrin. Further, knockdown studies using siRNA and immunoblotting were performed to explore the signaling pathways that activate autophagy in response to gastrin treatment. Results: We demonstrate that gastrin increases the expression of the autophagy markers MAP1LC3B-II and SQSTM1 in gastric adenocarcinoma cells. Gastrin induces autophagy via activation of the STK11-PRKAA2-ULK1 and that this signaling pathway is involved in increased migration and cell survival. Furthermore, gastrin mediated increase in survival of cells treated with cisplatin is partially dependent on induced autophagy. Conclusion: This study reveals a novel role of gastrin in the regulation of autophagy. It also opens up new avenues in the treatment of gastric cancer by targeting CCKBR mediated signaling and/or autophagy in combination with conventional cytostatic drugs.