FRA1 is essential for the maintenance of the oncogenic phenotype induced by <i>in vitro</i> long-term arsenic exposure.

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Arsenic induces oncogenic effects activating stress-related signalling pathways. This can result in the over-activation of the AP-1 protein, specifically its FRA1 component. FRA1 is a transcription factor frequently overexpressed in epithelial tumors, where it can regulate the expression of different target genes. Accordingly, FRA1 could play an essential role in the in vitro cell transformation induced by arsenic. FRA1 levels were monitored in MEF cells throughout their transformation stages during 40 weeks of long-term 2 μM arsenic exposure. Interestingly, the results show a progressive FRA1 overexpression with time (60-fold and 11-fold for mRNA and pFRA/non-pFRA1, respectively, at week 40), which may be responsible for the observed altered expression in the FRA1 downstream target genes Pten, Pdcd4, Tpm1, Tgfb1, Tgfb2, Zeb1, Zeb2, and Twist. The levels of MAPKs (ERK, p38, and JNK) and other known players upstream from FRA1 were assessed at equivalent time-points, and ERK, p38 and RAS were pinpointed as potential candidates involved in arsenic-induced FRA1 activation. Furthermore, FRA1 stable knockdown under chronic arsenic exposure settings elicits a remarkable impact on the features relative to the cells' oncogenic phenotype. Notably, FRA1 knockdown cells present a 30% diminished proliferation rate, a 50% lowered migration and invasion potential, a 50% reduction in senescence, and a 30-60% reduced tumorsphere-forming ability. This work is the first to demonstrate the important role of FRA1 in the development and aggressiveness of the in vitro transformed phenotype induced by long-term arsenic exposure.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalMetallomics : integrated biometal science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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