Skip to Content
Authors Ning L, Kunnimalaiyaan M, Chen H
Author Profile(s)
Journal Surgery Volume: 144 Issue: 6 Pages: 920-4; discussion 924-5
Publish Date 2008 Dec
PubMed ID 19040998
PMC ID 2639554

Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is highly metastatic. We have recently reported that activation of the Raf-1/MEK/ERK signaling pathway in MTC cells results in morphologic changes. We hypothesized that Raf-1-induced morphologic changes could be associated with alterations in cell-cell contact molecules, thereby affecting the metastatic potential of MTC cells.An estradiol (E(2))-inducible Raf-1 MTC cell line (TT-raf) was utilized in this study. Western blot analysis was used to confirm the Raf-1/MEK/ERK pathway activation and to measure levels of essential cell-cell contact molecules. Assays for cell adhesion and migration were performed to investigate the cell motility.E(2) treatment of TT-raf cells resulted in the Raf-1/MEK/ERK pathway activation as evidenced by increased levels of phospho-MEK1/2 and -ERK1/2. This resulted in significant reductions in levels of essential cell-cell contact molecules including E-cadherin, beta-catenin, and occludin. Importantly, activation of the Raf-1/ MEK/ERK pathway and the associated decrease in essential cell-cell contact molecules dramatically inhibited the abilities of adhesion and migration in MTC cells. Furthermore, treatment of Raf-1-activated cells with U0126, a specific inhibitor of MEK, abrogated these Raf-1-induced effects indicating that the suppression of the metastatic phenotype in MTC cells is a MEK-dependent pathway.These data suggest that the Raf-1/MEK/ERK pathway regulates essential cell-cell contact molecules and metastatic phenotype of MTC cells. Thus, these findings provide further insight into the key steps in the metastatic progression of MTC.

Full Text Full text available on PubMed Central Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System