Pivotal role of MUC1 glycosylation by cigarette smoke in modulating disruption of airway adherens junctions in vitro

TitlePivotal role of MUC1 glycosylation by cigarette smoke in modulating disruption of airway adherens junctions in vitro
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsZhang L, Gallup M, Zlock L, Chen YTing Feeli, Finkbeiner WE, McNamara NA
JournalJ Pathol
Date Published2014 Sep
KeywordsAdherens Junctions, Cadherins, Catenins, Cells, Cultured, Epithelial Cells, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition, Galectin 3, Glycosylation, Humans, Lung, Lung Neoplasms, Models, Biological, Mucin-1, Phosphorylation, Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor, Smoking, Tobacco Smoke Pollution

Cigarette smoke increases the risk of lung cancer by 20-fold and accounts for 87% of lung cancer deaths. In the normal airway, heavily O-glycosylated mucin-1 (MUC1) and adherens junctions (AJs) establish a structural barrier that protects the airway from infectious, inflammatory and noxious stimuli. Smoke disrupts cell-cell adhesion via its damaging effects on the AJ protein epithelial cadherin (E-cad). Loss of E-cad is a major hallmark of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and has been reported in lung cancer, where it is associated with invasion, metastasis and poor prognosis. Using organotypic cultures of primary human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells treated with smoke-concentrated medium (Smk), we have demonstrated that E-cad loss is regulated through the aberrant interaction of its AJ binding partner, p120-catenin (p120ctn), and the C-terminus of MUC1 (MUC1-C). Here, we reported that even before MUC1-C became bound to p120ctn, smoke promoted the generation of a novel 400 kDa glycoform of MUC1's N-terminus (MUC1-N) differing from the 230 kDa and 150 kDa glycoforms in untreated control cells. The subsequent smoke-induced, time-dependent shedding of glycosylated MUC1-N exposed MUC1-C as a putative receptor for interactions with EGFR, Src and p120ctn. Smoke-induced MUC1-C glycosylation modulated MUC1-C tyrosine phosphorylation (TyrP) that was essential for MUC1-C/p120ctn interaction through dose-dependent bridging of Src/MUC1-C/galectin-3/EGFR signalosomes. Chemical deglycosylation of MUC1 using a mixture of N-glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin and O-glycosylation inhibitor benzyl-α-GalNAc disrupted the Src/MUC1-C/galectin-3/EGFR complexes and thereby abolished smoke-induced MUC1-C-TyrP and MUC1-C/p120ctn interaction. Similarly, inhibition of smoke-induced MUC1-N glycosylation using adenoviral shRNA directed against N-acetyl-galactosaminyl transferase-6 (GALNT6, an enzyme that controls the initiating step of O-glycosylation) successfully suppressed MUC1-C/p120ctn interaction, prevented E-cad degradation and maintained cellular polarity in response to smoke. Thus, GALNT6 shRNA represents a potential therapeutic modality to prevent the initiation of events associated with EMT in the smoker's airway.

Alternate JournalJ. Pathol.
PubMed ID24838315
PubMed Central IDPMC4138268
Grant ListP30 DK072517 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States