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Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(1):1-10. doi:10.7150/ijbs.10405

Research Paper

Bmi1 Drives Stem-Like Properties and is Associated with Migration, Invasion, and Poor Prognosis in Tongue Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Qianting He1*, Zhonghua Liu1*, Tingting Zhao1, Luodan Zhao1, Xiaofeng Zhou2, 3, Anxun Wang1✉

1. Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510080, China
2. Center for Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60612-7213, USA.
3. Department of Periodontics, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60612-7213, USA.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Bmi1 (B-cell-specific Moloney murine leukemia virus insertion site 1) had been found to involve in self -renewal of stem cells and tumorigenesis in various malignancies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of Bmi1 in the development of tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) and its functional effect on the migration and invasion of TSCC. Initially, immunohistochemistry revealed that Bmi1 overexpression was a common event in premalignant dysplasia, primary TSCC, and lymph node metastases and was associated with a poor prognosis. A significant correlation between Bmi1 and SOD2 (manganese superoxide dismutase) expression was observed. Side population (SP) cells were used as cancer stem-like cells and further assessed by sphere and colony formation assays, and the expression of stem cell markers. TSCC cells with higher migration and invasion ability (UM1 cell lines) showed a higher proportion of SP cells and Bmi1 expression than TSCC cells with lower migration and invasion ability (UM2 cell lines). Knockdown of Bmi1 in UM1 or SP cells inhibited migration and invasion and decreased the sphere and colony formation, and the expression of stem cell markers and SOD2. Direct binding of C-myc to the Bmi1 promoter was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation and luciferase assays. Moreover, C-myc knockdown in SP cells inhibited their migration and invasion and decreased the expression of Bmi1 and SOD2. Our results indicate that the deregulation of Bmi1 expression is a frequent event during the progression of TSCC and may have a prognostic value for patients with this disease. The Bmi1-mediated migration and invasion of TSCC is related to cancer stem-like cells and involves the C-myc-Bmi1-SOD2 pathway.

Keywords: Tongue squamous cell carcinoma, Cancer stem-like cell, migration, invasion, prognosis, Bmi1.

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How to cite this article:
He Q, Liu Z, Zhao T, Zhao L, Zhou X, Wang A. Bmi1 Drives Stem-Like Properties and is Associated with Migration, Invasion, and Poor Prognosis in Tongue Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(1):1-10. doi:10.7150/ijbs.10405. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v11p0001.htm