Background: Neuropilin-1 (NRP-1), a non-tyrosine kinase glycoprotein receptor, is associated with poor prognosis breast cancer, however transcriptomic changes triggered by NRP-1 overexpression and its association with chemoresistance in breast cancer have not yet been explored. Methods: BT-474 NRP-1 variant cells were generated by stable overexpression of NRP-1 in the BT-474 breast cancer cell line. RNA sequencing and qRT-PCR were conducted to identify differentially expressed genes. The role of an upregulated oncogene, Tenascin C (TNC) and its associated pathway was investigated by siRNA-mediated knockdown. Resistant variants of the control and BT-474 NRP-1 cells were generated by sequential treatment with four cycles of Adriamycin/Cyclophosphamide (4xAC) followed by four cycles of Paclitaxel (4xAC + 4xPAC). Results: NRP-1 overexpression increased cellular tumorigenic behavior. RNA sequencing identified upregulation of an oncogene, Tenascin-C (TNC) and downregulation of several tumor suppressors in BT-474 NRP-1 cells. Additionally, protein analysis indicated activation of the TNC-associated integrin β3 (ITGB3) pathway via focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Akt (Ser473) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) p65. siRNA-mediated TNC knockdown ablated the migratory capacity of BT-474 NRP-1 cells and inactivated FAK/Akt473 signaling. NRP-1 overexpressing cells downregulated breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2). Consequently, sequential treatment with Adriamycin/Cyclophosphamide (AC) cytotoxic drugs to generate resistant cells indicated that BT-474 NRP-1 cells increased sensitivity to treatment by inactivating NRP-1/ITGB3/FAK/Akt/NF-kB p65 signaling compared to wild-type BT-474 resistant cells. Conclusions: We thus report a novel mechanism correlating high baseline NRP-1 with upregulated TNC/ITGB3 signaling, but decreased ABCG2 expression, which sensitizes BT-474 NRP-1 cells to Adriamycin/Cyclophosphamide. The study emphasizes on the targetability of the NRP-1/ITGB3 axis and its potential as a predictive biomarker for chemotherapy response.
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