Snail transcription factor can promote cancer cell migration and progression by inducing epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process by which epithelial markers such as E-cadherin are lost, and mesenchymal markers such as vimentin are acquired. We have observed increased expression of Snail in prostate cancer bone metastatic human patient samples. We recently generated an EMT model for prostate cancer utilizing the ARCaP human prostate cancer cells overexpressing Snail and identified increased RANKL, cathepsin-S and -L. RANKL and cathepsin-L have been previously implicated in bone resorption. ARCaP cells overexpressing Snail could induce osteoclastogenesis both in vitro and in vivo, as compared to ARCaP cells with control Neo vector. Maspin is a tumor suppressor frequently lost in breast and prostate cancer. We have observed an inverse relationship between Snail and maspin expression in vitro. We hypothesize that Snail-mediated upregulation of cathepsin-S and -L, and downregulation of maspin is important for prostate cancer progression and bone metastatic tumor growth and that inhibiting Snail signaling may be a feasible alternative to treat hormone refractory and bone metastatic lesions with less side effects. Firstly, the role and mechanism of Snail-mediated cathepsin expression in prostate tumor progression will be analyzed and whether this pathway is more active in African Amercians as compard to Caucasians (Specific Aim 1). Secondly, the mechanism by which Snail negatively regulates maspin will be elucidated (Specific Aim 2). Finally, whether Snail signaling, especially in an African American prostate cancer cell line, promotes migration to higher bone density and metastasis will be examined, as well as antagonism of Snail signaling utilizing cathepsin inhibitors to investigate whether this prevents bone tumor growth (Specific Aim 3). Since Snail is not required by adult cells except during injury, targeting Snail that is mainly expressed by cancer cells may antagonize metastatic lesions in bone without affecting normal bone in other areas of the body, thus avoiding side effects such as osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Public Health Relevance

These studies will show that Snail can regulate multiple processes (migration, bone resorption, matrix degradation, metastasis to bone) by regulating expression of proteins (cathepsin-S and L, maspin) it had not been previously associated with, especially in African American men who have a higher incidence and more aggressive prostate cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Clark Atlanta University
United States
Zip Code
Scarlett, Kisha A; White, El-Shaddai Z; Coke, Christopher J et al. (2018) Agonist-induced CXCR4 and CB2 Heterodimerization Inhibits G?13/RhoA-mediated Migration. Mol Cancer Res 16:728-739
Caggia, Silvia; Chunduri, HimaBindu; Millena, Ana C et al. (2018) Novel role of Gi?2 in cell migration: Downstream of PI3-kinase-AKT and Rac1 in prostate cancer cells. J Cell Physiol 234:802-815
Hawsawi, Ohuod; Henderson, Veronica; Burton, Liza J et al. (2018) High mobility group A2 (HMGA2) promotes EMT via MAPK pathway in prostate cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 504:196-202
Elliott, Bethtrice; Zackery, DeAdra L; Eaton, Vanessa A et al. (2018) Ethnic differences in TGF?-signaling pathway may contribute to prostate cancer health disparity. Carcinogenesis 39:546-555
Kimbrough-Allah, Mawiyah N; Millena, Ana C; Khan, Shafiq A (2018) Differential role of PTEN in transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) effects on proliferation and migration in prostate cancer cells. Prostate 78:377-389
Burton, Liza J; Henderson, Veronica; Liburd, Latiffa et al. (2017) Snail transcription factor NLS and importin ?1 regulate the subcellular localization of Cathepsin L and Cux1. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 491:59-64
Morton, Derrick J; Patel, Divya; Joshi, Jugal et al. (2017) ID4 regulates transcriptional activity of wild type and mutant p53 via K373 acetylation. Oncotarget 8:2536-2549
Barrett, Cach├ętne S X; Millena, Ana C; Khan, Shafiq A (2017) TGF-? Effects on Prostate Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion Require FosB. Prostate 77:72-81
Joshi, Jugal Bharat; Patel, Divya; Morton, Derrick J et al. (2017) Inactivation of ID4 promotes a CRPC phenotype with constitutive AR activation through FKBP52. Mol Oncol 11:337-357
Yu, Min; Wang, Ulrica; Wang, Zhengxin (2016) E2F and GATA switches turn off WD repeat domain 77 expression in differentiating cells. Biochem J 473:2331-43

Showing the most recent 10 out of 56 publications