Cancer Cell International
Contribution of voltage-gated sodium channel β-subunits to cervical cancer cells metastatic behavior
Cancer Cell International201919:35
© The Author(s) 2019
- Published: 15 February 2019
Voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels are heteromeric proteins consisting of a single pore forming α-subunit associated with one or two auxiliary β-subunits. These channels are classically known for being responsible of action potential generation and propagation in excitable cells; but lately they have been reported as widely expressed and regulated in several human cancer types. We have previously demonstrated the overexpression of NaV1.6 channel in cervical cancer (CeCa) biopsies and primary cultures, and its contribution to cell migration and invasiveness. Here, we investigated the expression of NaV channels β-subunits (NaVβs) in the CeCa cell lines HeLa, SiHa and CaSki, and determined their contribution to cell proliferation, migration and invasiveness.
We assessed the expression of NaVβs in CeCa cell lines by performing RT-PCR and western blotting experiments. We also evaluated CeCa cell lines proliferation, migration, and invasion by in vitro assays, both in basal conditions and after inducing changes in NaVβs levels by transfecting specific cDNAs or siRNAs. The potential role of NaVβs in modulating the expression of NaV α-subunits in the plasma membrane of CeCa cells was examined by the patch-clamp whole-cell technique. Furthermore, we investigated the role of NaVβ1 on cell cycle in SiHa cells by flow cytometry.
We found that the four NaVβs are expressed in the three CeCa cell lines, even in the absence of functional NaV α-subunit expression in the plasma membrane. Functional in vitro assays showed differential roles for NaVβ1 and NaVβ4, the latter as a cell invasiveness repressor and the former as a migration abolisher in CeCa cells. In silico analysis of NaVβ4 expression in cervical tissues corroborated the downregulation of this protein expression in CeCa vs normal cervix, supporting the evidence of NaVβ4’s role as a cell invasiveness repressor.
Our results contribute to the recent conception about NaVβs as multifunctional proteins involved in cell processes like ion channel regulation, cell adhesion and motility, and even in metastatic cell behaviors. These non-canonical functions of NaVβs are independent of the presence of functional NaV α-subunits in the plasma membrane and might represent a new therapeutic target for the treatment of cervical cancer.
- Voltage-gated sodium channel β-subunits
- Cervical cancer
- Cell-adhesion molecule