We analyzed the molecular basis for carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1)-controlled inhibition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in a mouse model for mammary adenocarcinoma (WAP-T mice). We demonstrate that silencing of CEACAM1 in WAP-T tumor-derived G-2 cells induces epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity (EMP), as evidenced by typical changes of gene expression, morphology and increased invasion. In contrast, reintroduction of CEACAM1 into G-2 cells reversed up-regulation of genes imposing mesenchymal transition, as well as cellular invasion. We identified the Wnt-pathway as target for CEACAM1-mediated repression of EMT. Importantly, β-catenin phosphorylation status and transcriptional activity strongly depend on CEACAM1 expression: CEACAM1high G-2 cells displayed enhanced phosphorylation of β-catenin at S33/S37/T41 and decreased phosphorylation at Y86, thereby inhibiting canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We identified Src-homology 2 domain-containing phosphatase 2 (SHP-2) as a critical binding partner of CEACAM1 that could modulate β-catenin Y86 phosphorylation. Hence, CEACAM1 serves as a scaffold that controls membrane proximal β-catenin signaling. In vivo, mammary tumors of WAP-T/CEACAM1null mice displayed increased nuclear translocation of β-catenin and a dramatically enhanced metastasis rate compared to WAP-T mice. Hence, CEACAM1 controls EMT in vitro and in vivo by site-specific regulation of β-catenin phosphorylation. Survival analyses of human mammary carcinoma patients corroborated these data, indicating that CEACAM1 is a prognostic marker for breast cancer survival.
Wegwitz, F., Lenfert, E., Gerstel, D., von Ehrenstein, L., Einhoff, J., Schmidt, G., … Horst, A. K. (2016). CEACAM1 controls the EMT switch in murine mammary carcinoma in vitro and in vivo. Oncotarget, 7(39), 63730–63746. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11650