We previously reported that the four-transmembrane L6 family member 5 (TM4SF5) was highly expressed in hepatocarcinoma, induced morphological elongation and epithelialmesenchymal transition, and caused abnormal cell growth in multilayers in vitro and tumor formation in vivo. In this study, we identified a synthetic compound, 4′-(p-toluenesulfonylamido)-4-hydroxychalcone (TSAHC) that antagonized both the TM4SF5-mediated multilayer growth and TM4SF5-enhanced migration/invasion. TSAHC treatment induced multilayer-growing cells to grow in monolayers, recovering contact inhibition without accompanying apoptosis, and inhibited chemotactic migration and invasion. Tumor formation in nude mice injected with TM4SF5-expressing cells and the growth of cells expressing endogenous TM4SF5, but not of TM4SF5-null cells, was suppressed by treatment with TSAHC, but not by treatment with its analogs. The structure-activity relationship indicated the significance of 4′-p-toluenesulfonylamido and 4-hydroxy groups for the anti-TM4SF5 effects of TSAHC. Point mutations of the putative N-glycosylation sites abolished the TM4SF5-specific TSAHC responsiveness. Conclusion: These observations suggest that TM4SF5-enhanced tumorigenic proliferation and metastatic potential can be blocked by TSAHC, likely through targeting the extracellular region of TM4SF5, which is important for protein-protein interactions.
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