The aggressiveness of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is characterized by its high metastatic potential and lack of effective therapies, which is the result of a lack of understanding of the mechanisms involved in promoting PDA metastases. We identified Annexin A2 (ANXA2), a member of the Annexin family of calcium-dependent phospholipid binding proteins, as a new molecule that promotes PDA invasion and metastases. We found ANXA2 to be a PDA-associated antigen recognized by post-treatment sera of patients who demonstrated prolonged survival following treatment with a PDA-specific vaccine. Cell surface ANXA2 increases with PDA development and progression. Knockdown of ANXA2 expression by RNA interference or blocking with anti-ANXA2 antibodies inhibits in vitro invasion of PDA cells. In addition, post-vaccination patient sera inhibits in vitro invasion of PDA cells, suggesting that therapeutic anti-ANXA2 antibodies are induced by the vaccine. Furthermore, cell-surface localization of ANXA2 is tyrosine 23 phosphorylation-dependent; and tyrosine 23 phosphorylation is required for PDA invasion. We demonstrated that tyrosine 23 phosphorylation resulting in surface expression of ANXA2 is required for TGFβ-induced, Rho-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), linking the cellular function of ANXA2 which was previously shown to be associated with small GTPase-regulated cytoskeletal rearrangements, to the EMT process in PDA. Finally, using mouse PDA models, we showed that shRNA knock-down of ANXA2, a mutation at tyrosine 23, or anti-ANXA2 antibodies, inhibit PDA metastases and prolong mouse survival. Thus, ANXA2 is part of a novel molecular pathway underlying PDA metastases and a new target for development of PDA therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences