Downregulation of Bit1 Expression Promotes Growth, Anoikis Resistance, and Transformation of Immortalized Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells via Erk Activation-Dependent Suppression of E-cadherin.

Funding Source

Xavier University of Louisiana, National Institutes of Health

Grant Number

R25GM060926, 8G12MD007595,2R15 CA158677-02


Department of Biology

Document Type


Publication Date



The mitochondrial Bit1 protein exerts tumor-suppressive function in NSCLC through induction of anoikis and inhibition of EMT. Having this dual tumor suppressive effect, its downregulation in the established human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell line resulted in potentiation of tumorigenicity and metastasis in vivo. However, the exact role of Bit1 in regulating malignant growth and transformation of human lung epithelial cells, which are origin of most forms of human lung cancers, has not been examined. To this end, we have downregulated the endogenous Bit1 expression in the immortalized non-tumorigenic human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells. Knockdown of Bit1 enhanced the growth and anoikis insensitivity of BEAS-2B cells. In line with their acquired anoikis resistance, the Bit1 knockdown BEAS-2B cells exhibited enhanced anchorage-independent growth in vitro but failed to form tumors in vivo. The loss of Bit1-induced transformed phenotypes was in part attributable to the repression of E-cadherin expression since forced exogenous E-cadherin expression attenuated the malignant phenotypes of the Bit1 knockdown cells. Importantly, we show that the loss of Bit1 expression in BEAS-2B cells resulted in increased Erk activation, which functions upstream to promote TLE1-mediated transcriptional repression of E-cadherin. These collective findings indicate that loss of Bit1 expression contributes to the acquisition of malignant phenotype of human lung epithelial cells via Erk activation-induced suppression of E-cadherin expression.


DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2017.11.126

PubMed ID: 29170133

Funding text

This work was supported by the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium start up grant (to HB), NIH 2R15 CA158677-02 Grant (to HB), NIH RCMI grant # 8G12MD007595 (Xavier University of Louisiana), and NIH R25GM060926 (Xavier University of Louisiana).