Although several lines of evidence have established the central role of epithelialto- mesenchymal-transition (EMT) in malignant progression of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs), the molecular events connecting EMT to malignancy remain poorly understood. This study presents evidence that Long Interspersed Nuclear Element-1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon couples EMT programming with malignancy in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B). This conclusion is supported by studies showing that: 1) activation of EMT programming by TGF-β1 increases LINE-1 mRNAs and protein; 2) the lung carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene coregulates TGF-β1 and LINE- 1 mRNAs, with LINE-1 positioned downstream of TGF-β1 signaling; and, 3) forced expression of LINE-1 in BEAS-2B cells recapitulates EMT programming and induces malignant phenotypes and tumorigenesis in vivo. These findings identify a TGFβ1- LINE-1 axis as a critical effector pathway that can be targeted for the development of precision therapies during malignant progression of intractable NSCLCs.
- EMT programming
ASJC Scopus subject areas