Claudin-1 promotes TNF-α-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and migration in colorectal adenocarcinoma cells

Ajaz A. Bhat, Rizwan Ahmad, Srijaya Prakash B. Uppada, Amar B. Singh, Punita Dhawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important mechanism in cancer progression and malignancy including colorectal cancer (CRC). Importantly, inflammatory mediators are critical constituents of the local tumor environment and an intimate link between CRC progression and inflammation is now validated. We and others have reported key role of the deregulated claudin-1 expression in colon carcinogenesis including colitis-associated colon cancer (CAC). However, the causal association between claudin-1 expression and inflammation-induced colon cancer progression remains unclear. Here we demonstrate, TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, regulates claudin-1 to modulate epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and migration in colon adenocarcinoma cells. Importantly, colon cancer cells cultured in the presence of TNF-α (10 ng/ml), demonstrated a sharp decrease in E-cadherin expression and an increase in vimentin expression (versus control cells). Interestingly, TNF-α treatment also upregulated (and delocalized) claudin-1 expression in a time-dependent manner accompanied by increase in proliferation and wound healing. Furthermore, similar to our previous observation that claudin-1 overexpression in CRC cells induces ERK1/2 and Src- activation, signaling associated with colon cancer cell survival and transformation, TNF-α-treatment induced upregulation of phospho-ERK1/2 and -Src expression. The shRNA-mediated inhibition of claudin-1 expression largely abrogated the TNF-α-induced changes in EMT, proliferation, migration, p-Erk and p-Src expression. Taken together, our data demonstrate TNF-α mediated regulation of claudin-1 and tumorigenic abilities of colon cancer cells and highlights a key role of deregulated claudin-1 expression in inflammation-induced colorectal cancer growth and progression, through the regulation of the ERK and Src-signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 15 2016


  • Claudin-1
  • EMT
  • Migration
  • TNF-alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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