In HT29 cells, an interplay between self-DNA-induced TLR9- and autophagy responses was found with remarkable effects on survival and differentiation of tumor cells. c-Met activation is known to drive the progression of colorectal cancer by promoting signaling cascades that mainly result in alterations of cell motility, survival and proliferation. c-Met inhibition was shown to inhibit autophagy. In cancer cells the interrelated role of c-Met inhibition and TLR9/autophagy signaling has not yet been clarified, so we aimed to assess this complex interplay.
HT29 cells were incubated for 72 h with genomic (g), hypermethylated (m), and fragmented (f) tumor self-DNAs, and with/without inhibitors of c-Met (diisothiocyanatostilbene), autophagy (chloroquine) and TLR9 (ODN2088), respectively. Cell viability was measured by MTT assay. Transcriptional changes of TLR9-signaling, PI3K, CD95, c-Met, Bcl2, cytochrome-c, and the autophagy process were assayed by Human v3 miRNA Assay (NanoString). Autophagy proteins were detected by immunocytochemistry, while morphology of apoptosis and autophagy by transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Self-DNAs g and f resulted in significant upregulation of Beclin1, Atg16L1, LC3 mRNAs, and downregulation of PI3K, Bcl2, CD95, and cytochrome-c, verified by immunocytochemistry, as well. c-Met inhibition alone altered inversely the autophagy-associated gene- and protein-expressions. In each group of tumor cells using combined inhibition of autophagy, TLR9 and/or c-Met-signaling varying degree of autophagy was observed according to NanoString and TEM. Following combined incubation with c-Met inhibitor and m-DNAs no expected suppression of tumor cell survival and induction of apoptosis and mitophagy were detected. Further, c-Met inhibition changed the cell-protective effect f-DNA on macroautophagy.
Our study provided evidence for an intense crosstalk between the inhibited c-Met canonical and non-canonical signaling pathways, and the TLR9/autophagy response with profound impacts on survival, proliferation and death of HT29 cells subjected to intact/modified self-DNAs.
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All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.