Collagen I has been shown to promote epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a critical process of embryonic development and disease progression. However, little is known about the signaling mechanisms by which collagen I induces this cellular transformation. Here we show that collagen I causes ILK-dependent phosphorylation of IκB and subsequent nuclear translocation of active NF-κB, which in turn promotes increased expression of the Snail and LEF-1 transcription factors. ILK also causes inhibitory phosphorylation of GSK-3β a kinase that prevents functional activation of both Snail and LEF-1. These transcription factors alter expression of epithelial and mesenchymal markers to initiate EMT and stimulate cell migration. These data provide a foundation for understanding the mechanisms by which collagen I stimulates EMT and identify potential therapeutic targets for suppressing this transition in pathological conditions.
- Collagen I
- Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology