Differential growth factor regulation of N-cadherin expression and motility in normal and malignant oral epithelium

Michelle E. Diamond, Limin Sun, Adam J. Ottaviano, Mathew J. Joseph, Hidayatullah G. Munshi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Aberrant expression of N-cadherin is associated with tumor Progression in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Consequently, we examined the regulation of N-cadherin by TGFβ1, an important mediator of keratinocyte and SCC function. N-cadherin expression was increased in oral SCC (OSCC) cell lines, regulating motility and correlating with TGFβ1 production. Moreover, in normal keratinocytes TGFβ1 increased expression of N-cadherin to regulate motility. TGFβ1-mediated N-cadherin expression in the oral keratinocytes was blocked using siRNA targeting Smads. Unexpectedly, we found that EGF blocked TGFβ1-mediated N-cadherin expression in oral keratinocytes and not in OSCC cells. Mechanistically, EGF enhanced Smad phosphorylation in the linker region, and attenuated TGFβ1-mediated phosphorylation of Smad at the C-terminus, localization of Smad to the nucleus as well as Smad-driven promoter activity exclusively in oral keratinocytes but not in OSCC cells. The effect of EGF on TGFβ1-mediated Smad-driven promoter activity and N-cadherin expression was reversed when activation of ERK1/2 was blocked. Although EGF and TGFβ1 independently promoted migration of both oral keratinocytes and OSCC cells, EGF decreased TGFβ1-mediated migration of oral keratinocytes but enhanced migration of OSCC cells. Together, these data support a model wherein EGF signaling has an important negative regulatory role on TGFβ1-mediated N-cadherin expression and motility in normal oral keratinocytes, and in which loss of this regulatory mechanism accompanies malignant transformation of the oral epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2197-2207
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • EGF
  • ERK1/2
  • Motility
  • N-cadherin
  • Oral cancer
  • Smad
  • TGFβ1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential growth factor regulation of N-cadherin expression and motility in normal and malignant oral epithelium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this