CD81 is a prognostic biomarker for high-grade bladder cancer (BC). In this study, we aimed to determine the functional mechanisms underlying the role of CD81 in BC progression.

In two invasive BC cell lines (T24, J82), CD81 expression was suppressed by the transfection of lentiviral vectors including CD81-specific shRNAs, and then the migration and invasion of BC cells was analyzed. Enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) was also analyzed by collagen-zymography. The expression of MMPs was confirmed by western blotting using culture supernatants from each cell line. Signaling pathways related to MMPs were investigated using various antibodies.

CD81 was successfully knocked down by shRNAs in T24 and J82 cell lines. While the migration of BC cells was not affected after the knockdown of CD81, the invasive activity was significantly increased in both cell lines. Zymography produced distinct bands using supernatants from CD81-knockdown cells, whereas only faint bands were observed with empty vector-transfected cells. We also observed an increased expression of MMPs, specifically MMP2 and 9, in the conditioned media from CD81-knockdown cells by western blotting. Mechanistically, the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) was associated with the invasive activity of BC cells, while U0126 (an ERK inhibitor) reduced the invasive activity of CD81-knockdown BC cells.

Taken together, CD81 suppression promotes the invasive property of BC cells through MMP signaling via ERK phosphorylation. Our results suggest that the regulation of CD81 expression may have some therapeutic potential in BC.

Investigative and clinical urology. 2019 Jul 17 [Epub]

Hyun Sik Park, Suhyuk Lee, Jisu Lee, Hyun Bin Shin, Seung-Min Yoo, Myung-Shin Lee, Jinsung Park

Department of Urology, Eulji University Hospital, Eulji University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea., Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Eulji University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.