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Suppression of cell death by the secretory form of N-terminal ERC/mesothelin

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ERC/mesothelin is highly expressed in malignant mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer. It is cleaved to a 30 kDa N-terminal secretory form (N-ERC) and a 40 kDa C-terminal membranous form (C-ERC). Several functions have been reported for full-length ERC (full-ERC) and C-ERC/mesothelin, such as in cell adhesion and invasion, stimulation of cell proliferation, and the suppression of cell death. However, there have been no studies to date on the function of secretory N-ERC, despite the fact that it is abundantly secreted into the sera of mesothelioma patients. In this study, we investigated whether N-ERC could function as a secretory factor to stimulate tumor progression. Full-, N, or C-ERC was overexpressed in the human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line Huh7 that lacks endogenous expression of ERC/mesothelin. Changes in the rates of cell proliferation and cell death were determined, and the state of signal transducers was examined using various endpoints: total cell counts, trypan blue exclusion rate, BrdU incorporation rate, TUNEL assay, and the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Stat3. In cells overexpressing N-ERC, phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was enhanced and the rate of cell death decreased, leading to the increase of cell number. The culture medium containing the secretory N-ERC also had the activity to increase the number of cells. Our data suggested that one of the full-ERC functions reported previously was mediated by the secretory N-ERC.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Pathology and Oncology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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