In an earlier study, we investigated the expression of tight junction protein claudins (CLDNs) in human osteosarcoma (OS) cells, and the CLDN2 was found to be down-regulated in primary tumor cells compared with normal osteoblast cells. Here, we sought to explore the effects of CLDN2 on the malignant phenotype of OS and the underlying molecular mechanisms.
The expression patterns of CLDN2 and afadin in OS tissues and histologically non-neoplastic bone tissues were explored via immunohistochemistry and western blotting. CLDN2 expression levels in an OS cell line stably expressing CLDN2 and an osteoblast cell line with a CLDN2 knockout were confirmed by western blotting and immunofluorescence staining. The malignant phenotype of OS cells and osteoblast cells in vitro was assessed using a cell counting kit-8 assay, transwell assay and wound-healing experiment. Western blotting was utilized to detect the activation state of Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway. Moreover, an RNA interference method were used to silence afadin in CLDN2-expressing OS cells.
Our research group found that CLDN2 and afadin was underexpressed in OS tissues, and the overexpression of CLDN2 significantly inhibited the migration abilities of OS cells. Genetic silencing of afadin in CLDN2-overexpressing OS cells promoted U2OS cell motility and activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway.
In this study, we confirmed that CLDN2 expression significantly inhibited the malignant phenotype of OS cells in vitro. Inhibition of the ERK pathway by afadin may be one of the mechanisms by which CLDN2 blocks the metastasis phenotype of OS cells.