We previously reported hedgehog (Hh) signal activation in the mucus-secreting pit cell of the stomach and in diffuse-type gastric cancer (GC). Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is known to be involved in tumour malignancy. However, little is known about whether and how both signallings cooperatively act in diffuse-type GC. By microarray and reverse transcription-PCR, we investigated the expression of those Hh and EMT signalling molecules in pit cells and in diffuse-type GCs. How both signallings act cooperatively in those cells was also investigated by the treatment of an Hh-signal inhibitor and siRNAs of Hh and EMT transcriptional key regulator genes on a mouse primary culture and on human GC cell lines. Pit cells and diffuse-type GCs co-expressed many Hh and EMT signalling genes. Mesenchymal-related genes (WNT5A, CDH2, PDGFRB, EDNRA, ROBO1, ROR2, and MEF2C) were found to be activated by an EMT regulator, SIP1/ZFHX1B/ZEB2, which was a target of a primary transcriptional regulator GLI1 in Hh signal. Furthermore, we identified two cancer-specific Hh targets, ELK1 and MSX2, which have an essential role in GC cell growth. These findings suggest that the gastric pit cell exhibits mesenchymal-like gene expression, and that diffuse-type GC maintains expression through the Hh-EMT pathway. Our proposed extensive Hh-EMT signal pathway has the potential to an understanding of diffuse-type GC and to the development of new drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research