Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in gastric cancer cells by activating transforming growth factor-β1 expression
- Liang Liang
- Ming Zeng
- Haixia Pan
- Hao Liu
- Yangke He
Published online on: January 26, 2018
Previous studies have demonstrated that nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) is aberrantly expressed in a number of tumors. In the present study, it was demonstrated that the gene and protein levels of NNMT were significantly increased in gastric cancer cells. Furthermore, upregulation of NNMT significantly increased the expression of mesenchymal markers, including α‑smooth muscle actin (SMA), vimentin and fibronectin, but decreased the levels of epithelial cadherin. Since transforming growth factor (TGF)‑β1 may serve a key function in epithelial‑mesenchymal transition (EMT), the effects of NNMT on the expression of TGF‑β1 were investigated in BGC‑823 cells. The results demonstrated that overexpression of NNMT significantly induced the expression of TGF‑β1. However, knockdown of NNMT inhibited the expression of TGF‑β1, mothers against decapentaplegic homolog (Smad)2 and α‑SMA. Additionally, pre‑incubation with TGF‑β1 partially eliminated NNMT‑mediated changes in EMT. Collectively, the results demonstrated that upregulation of NNMT in gastric cancer cells may increase the expression of TGF-β1, therefore activating TGF-β1/Smad signaling, which in turn promotes EMT.