L1 Cell Adhesion Molecule Promotes Migration and Invasion via JNK Activation in Extrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma Cells with Activating KRAS Mutation

  • Kim, Haejung (Department of Biology, College of National Science, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Hwang, Haein (Department of Systems Immunology, College of Biomedical Science, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Lee, Hansoo (Department of Biology, College of National Science, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Hong, Hyo Jeong (Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, College of Biomedical Science, Kangwon National University)
  • Received : 2016.11.28
  • Accepted : 2017.04.28
  • Published : 2017.05.31


Extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ECC), a malignant tumor of biliary origin, has a poor prognosis with limited treatment options. The KRAS oncogene is the most commonly mutated gene in ECC and one of the factors that predicts a poor prognosis and low survival rate. L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) is expressed in ECC cells and acts as an independent poor prognostic factor in predicting patient survival. In this study we investigate the functional significance of L1CAM in ECC cells with activating KRAS mutation. We selected an ECC cell line, EGI-1, with activating KRAS mutation, and then confirmed its expression of L1CAM by RT-PCR, western blot analysis, and flow cytometry. The suppression of L1CAM expression (using a specific lentivirus-delivered shRNA) significantly decreased the migratory and invasive properties of EGI-1 cells, without altering their proliferation or survival. Analyses of signaling effectors in L1CAM-depleted and control EGI-1 cells indicated that L1CAM suppression decreased the levels of both phosphorylated MKK4 and total MKK4, together with c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation. Further, exposure to a JNK inhibitor (SP600125) decreased migration and invasion of EGI-1 cells. These results suggest that L1CAM promotes cellular migration and invasion via the induction of MKK4 expression, leading to JNK activation. Our study is the first to demonstrate a functional role for L1CAM in ECC carrying the activating KRAS mutation. Given that KRAS is the most commonly mutated oncogene in ECC, L1CAM may serve as an attractive therapeutic target for ECC cells with activating KRAS mutation.


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea, Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF)


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