MUC1 regulates PDGFA expression during pancreatic cancer progression

M. Sahraei, L. D. Roy, J. M. Curry, T. L. Teresa, S. Nath, D. Besmer, A. Kidiyoor, R. Dalia, S. J. Gendler, P. Mukherjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) has one of the worst prognoses of all cancers. Mucin 1 (MUC1), a transmembrane mucin glycoprotein, is a key modulator of several signaling pathways that affect oncogenesis, motility and metastasis. Its expression is known to be associated with poor prognosis in patients. However, the precise mechanism remains elusive. We report a novel association of MUC1 with platelet-derived growth factor-A (PDGFA). PDGFA is one of the many drivers of tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis in PDA. Using mouse PDA models as well as human samples, we show clear evidence that MUC1 regulates the expression and secretion of PDGFA. This, in turn, influences proliferation and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells leading to higher tumor burden in vivo. In addition, we reveal that MUC1 overexpressing cells are heavily dependent on PDGFA both for proliferation and invasion, whereas MUC1-null cells are not. Moreover, PDGFA and MUC1 are critical for translocation of β catenin to the nucleus for oncogenesis to ensue. Finally, we elucidate the underlying mechanism by which MUC1 regulates PDGFA expression and secretion in pancreatic cancer cells. We show that MUC1 associates with Hif1-α, a known transcription factor involved in controlling PDGFA expression. Furthermore, MUC1 facilitates Hif1-α translocation to the nucleus. In summary, we have demonstrated that MUC1-induced invasion and proliferation occurs via increased exogenous production of PDGFA. Thus, impeding MUC1 regulation of PDGFA signaling may be therapeutically beneficial for patients with PDA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4935-4945
Number of pages11
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 22 2012


  • MUC1
  • pancreatic cancer
  • β-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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