A novel neuregulin - jagged1 paracrine loop in breast cancer transendothelial migration

Ramon M. Cabrera, Serena P.H. Mao, Chinmay R. Surve, John S. Condeelis, Jeffrey E. Segall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: The interaction of breast cancer cells with other cells in the tumor microenvironment plays an important role in metastasis. Invasion and intravasation, two critical steps in the metastatic process, are influenced by these interactions. Macrophages are of particular interest when it comes to studying tumor cell invasiveness. Previous studies have shown that there is paracrine loop signaling between breast cancer cells and macrophages involving colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) produced by tumor cells and epidermal growth factor (EGF) production by macrophages. In this paper, we identify a novel paracrine loop between tumor cells and macrophages involving neuregulin (NRG1) and notch signaling. Methods: The aim of this study was to determine the role of NRG1, a ligand of the ErbB3 receptor, in macrophage stimulation of tumor cell transendothelial migration and intravasation. We used fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and western blot to determine ErbB3 and NRG1 expression, respectively. An in vitro transendothelial migration (iTEM) assay was used to examine the effects of short hairpin (sh)RNA targeting NRG1 in tumor cells and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) knockout of jagged 1 (JAG1) in macrophages. Orthotopic xenograft injections in mice were used to confirm results in vivo. Results: In our system, macrophages were the primary cells showing expression of ErbB3, and a blocking antibody against ErbB3 resulted in a significant decrease in macrophage-induced transendothelial migration of breast cancer cells. Stimulation of macrophages with NRG1 upregulated mRNA and protein expression of JAG1, a ligand of the Notch receptor, and JAG1 production by macrophages was important for transendothelial migration of tumor cells. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that stimulation of macrophages by tumor cell NRG1 can enhance transendothelial migration and intravasation. We also demonstrate that this effect is due to induction of macrophage JAG1, an important ligand of the Notch signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2018


  • Breast cancer
  • Intravasation
  • Jagged1
  • Macrophage
  • Neuregulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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