We have previously shown that proto-oncoprotein c-Jun is activated in ornithine decarboxylase (ODC)- and RAS-transformed mouse fibroblasts, and that the transformed morphology of these cells can be reversed by expressing the transactivation domain deletion mutant of c-Jun (TAM67). Here, we found that lysyl oxidase (Lox), encoding an extracellular matrix-modifying enzyme, is downregulated in a c-Jun-dependent manner in ODC-transformed fibroblasts (Odc cells). In addition to Lox, the Lox family members Lox-like 1 and 3 (Loxl1 and Loxl3) were found to be downregulated in Odc as well as in RAS-transformed fibroblasts (E4), whereas Lox-like 4 (Loxl4) was upregulated in Odc and downregulated in E4 cells compared to normal N1 fibroblasts. Tetracycline-regulatable LOX re-expression in Odc cells led to inhibition of cell growth and invasion in three-dimensional Matrigel in an activity-independent manner. On the contrary, LOX and especially LOXL2, LOXL3, and LOXL4 were found to be upregulated in several human melanoma cell lines, and LOX inhibitor B-aminopropionitrile inhibited the invasive growth of these cells particularly when co-cultured with fibroblasts in Matrigel. Knocking down the expression of LOX and especially LOXL2 in melanoma cells almost completely abrogated the invasive growth capability. Further, LOXL2 was significantly upregulated in clinical human primary melanomas compared to benign nevi, and high expression of LOXL2 in primary melanomas was associated with formation of metastases and shorter survival of patients. Thus, our studies reveal that inactive pro-LOX (together with Lox propeptide) functions as a tumor suppressor in ODC- and RAS-transformed murine fibroblasts by inhibiting cell growth and invasion, and active LOX and LOXL2 as tumor promoters in human melanoma cells by promoting their invasive growth. Copyright: Kielosto et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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