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CD44 silencing decreases the expression of stem cell-related factors induced by transforming growth factor β1 and tumor necrosis factor α in lung cancer: Preliminary findings

Fariz Nurwidya, Fumiyuki Takahashi, Motoyasu Kato, Hario Baskoro, Moulid Hidayat, Aditya Wirawan, Kazuhisa Takahashi


The mechanism underlying increased concentrations of cancer stem cell (CSC)-associated factors in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells treated with transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), is still not clear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible role of CD44 in the regulation of CSC-associated genes, by analyzing the effect of CD44 knockdown on their expression. A549, a NSCLC cell line that expresses CD44 antigen, was treated with TGFβ1 and TNFα. Small-interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) that specifically targets the CD44 gene was used to knockdown the expression of CD44 in A549. The gene expressions of CD44, CXCR4, POU5F1 (octamer-binding transcription factor 4 [Oct4]), PROM1, NANOG, c-Myc, KLF4, and SOX2, as well as of CDH1 (E-cadherin), CDH2 (N-cadherin), VIM (vimentin), and FN1 (fibronectin) were analyzed in A549 cells by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Cell morphology was observed using light microscopy. After TGFβ1/TNFα treatment, increased expressions of CXCR4 and POU5F1 were detected. Silencing of CD44 gene expression was confirmed by RT-qPCR. The knockdown of CD44 decreased the CXCR4 and POU5F1 gene expressions in TGFβ1/TNFα-treated A549 cells. However, the silencing of CD44 did not affect the morphology of TGFβ1/TNFα-treated A549 cells nor it reversed epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) gene signature induced by TGFβ1/TNFα in A549 cells. Our preliminary findings suggest that the CD44 gene may have a role in regulating CXCR4 and POU5F1 gene expressions, independently of the EMT signaling pathway.


CD44; CXCR4 receptor; Oct4; POU5F1, non-small cell lung cancer cells; NSCLC; C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4; octamer-binding transcription factor 4

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