Background: Successful colorectal cancer (CRC) therapy often depends on the accurate identification of primary tumours with invasive potential. There is still a lack of identified pathological factors associated with disease recurrence that could help in making treatment decisions. Neuromedin U (NMU) is a secretory neuropeptide that was first isolated from the porcine spinal cord, and it has emerged as a novel factor involved in the tumorigenesis and/or metastasis of many types of cancers. Previously associated with processes leading to CRC cell invasiveness, NMU has the potential to be a marker of poor outcome, but it has not been extensively studied in CRC. Methods: Data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were used to analyse NMU and NMU receptor (NMUR1 and NMUR2) expression in CRC tissues vs. normal tissues, and real-time PCR was used for NMU and NMU receptor expression analysis. NMU protein detection was performed by immunoblotting. Secreted NMU was immunoprecipitated from cell culture-conditioned media and analysed by immunoblotting and protein sequencing. DNA demethylation by 5-aza-CdR was used to analyse the regulation of NMUR1 and NMUR2 expression. NMU receptor activity was monitored by detecting calcium mobilisation in cells loaded with fluo-4, and ERK1/2 kinase activation was detected after treatment with NMU or receptor agonist. Cell migration and invasion were investigated using membrane filters. Integrin expression was evaluated by flow cytometry. Results: The obtained data revealed elevated expression of NMU and NMUR2 in CRC tissue samples and variable expression in the analysed CRC cell lines. We have shown, for the first time, that NMUR2 activation induces signalling in CRC cells and that NMU increases the motility and invasiveness of NMUR2-positive CRC cells and increases prometastatic integrin receptor subunit expression. Conclusions: Our results show the ability of CRC cells to respond to NMU via activation of the NMUR2 receptor, which ultimately leads to a shift in the CRC phenotype towards a more invasive phenotype.
|Journal||Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2021|
- Neuromedin U
- CRC migration and invasion