Angiopoietin-like protein 4 is a chromatin-bound protein that enhances mammosphere formation in vitro and experimental triple-negative breast cancer brain and liver metastases in vivo

Jodi Simeon1, Jessica Thrush2, Tameka A Bailey1
1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas; Department of Cell and Molecular Biology Program, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas; Honors College, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
DOI: 10.4103/jcar.JCar_20_20


Introduction: Metastatic progression in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients occurs primarily because of nuclear reprogramming that includes chromatin remodeling and epigenetic modifications. The existing and most successful chemotherapies available for metastatic TNBC target nuclear proteins or damage DNA. The objectives here are to investigate an undescribed role for the molecular biology of nuclear angiopoietin-like protein 4 (ANGPTL4) and to characterize the effect of ectopic overexpression of ANGPTL4 in the metastatic biology of TNBC.
Materials and Methods: Lentiviral-mediated transduction was used to overexpress ANGPTL4 in the TNBC cell line MD Anderson–metastatic breast cancer 231. The overexpression of ANGPTL4 was confirmed by western blot and ELISA. Subcellular fractionation, western blot, and immunofluorescence microscopy were used to characterize the intracellular localization of ANGPTL4. Mammosphere culture and the anchorage-independent growth assay analyzed the metastatic potential of the cell line. Xenograft assays assessed the effect of ANGPTL4 overexpression on TNBC metastases in vivo.
Results: The ANGPTL4 overexpressing cell line formed larger mammospheres and anchorage-independent colonies in vitro and developed larger primary tumors, more liver metastases, and brain metastatic outgrowth in vivo in comparison to a cell line that expressed endogenous levels of ANGPTL4. ANGPTL4, aurora kinase A (AURKA), a mitotic kinase, and Tat-interacting protein p60 kDa (Tip60), a lysine acetyltransferase, associated with chromatin in the ANGPTL4 overexpressing cells but not in cells that expressed endogenous levels of ANGPTL4.
Conclusions: The ANGPTL4 overexpressing cell line showed in vitro and in vivo activities that suggest that nuclear ANGPTL4, AURKA, and Tip60 may cooperatively modulate TNBC metastases within chromatin-remodeling complexes or DNA-associated machinery.

Keywords: Angiopoietin-like protein 4, aurora kinase A, metastasis, Tat-interacting protein p60 kDa, triple-negative breast cancer