Journal Article CRISPR/Cas9n-Mediated Deletion of the Snail 1Gene (SNAI1) Reveals Its Role in Regulating Cell Morphology, Cell-Cell Interactions, and Gene Expression in Ovarian Cancer (RMG-1) Cells

HARAGUCHI, Misako  ,  SATO, Masahiro  ,  OZAWA, Masayuki  ,  原口, みさ子  ,  佐藤, 正宏  ,  小澤, 政之

10 ( 7 )  , p.e0132260 , 2015-10-07 , Public Library of Science
Snail1 is a transcription factor that induces the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). During EMT, epithelial cells lose their junctions, reorganize their cytoskeletons, and reprogram gene expression. Although Snail1 is a prominent repressor of E-cadherin transcription, its precise roles in each of the phenomena of EMT are not completely understood, particularly in cytoskeletal changes. Previous studies have employed gene knockdown systems to determine the functions of Snail1. However, incomplete protein knockdown is often associated with these systems, which may cause incorrect interpretation of the data. To more precisely evaluate the functions of Snail1, we generated a stable cell line with a targeted ablation of Snail1 (Snail1 KO) by using the CRISPR/Cas9n system. Snail1 KO cells show increased cell–cell adhesion, decreased cell–substrate adhesion and cell migration, changes to their cytoskeletal organization that include few stress fibers and abundant cortical actin, and upregulation of epithelial marker genes such as E-cadherin, occludin, and claudin-1. However, morphological changes were induced by treatment of Snail1 KO cells with TGF-beta. Other transcription factors that induce EMT were also induced by treatment with TGF-beta. The precise deletion of Snail1 by the CRISPR/Cas9n system provides clear evidence that loss of Snail1 causes changes in the actin cytoskeleton, decreases cell–substrate adhesion, and increases cell–cell adhesion. Treatment of RMG1 cells with TGF-beta suggests redundancy among the transcription factors that induce EMT.

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