We recently showed that folic acid (FA) could decrease the proliferation rate of colorectal cancer cells in vitro and reduce the volume of COLO-205 tumor in vivo. Since cancer cell proliferation and migration are two major events during cancer development, we further examined whether FA could also affect the migration of colorectal cancer cells. Transwell invasion assays demonstrated that FA reduced the invasion ability of colorectal cancer cell lines, COLO-205, LoVo and HT-29. Using COLO-205 as a cell model, we further delineated the molecular mechanism underlying FA-inhibited colorectal cancer cell invasion. Western blot analyses showed that FA (10 μM) activated cSrc, ERK1/2, NFκB, and p27 at serine 10 (Ser10), and up-regulated p53, p27, and KIS protein. Subcellular fractionation illustrated that FA treatment increased cytosolic translocation of p27, formation of the p27-RhoA complex, and RhoA degradation. The FA-induced migration inhibition in COLO-205 was abolished by blockade of the cSrc or ERK1/2 activity, knockdown of p27 or KIS using the siRNA technique, or over-expression of a constitutive active RhoA cDNA. Our results suggest that FA up-regulated p27 through increasing the cSrc/ERK1/2/NFκB/p53-mediated pathway. In the nucleus, FA up-regulated KIS, which in turn increased p27 phosphorylation at serine 10 (Ser10), subsequently resulting in cytosolic translocation of p27 and forming the p27-RhoA complex, thereby causing RhoA degradation, and eventually inhibited COLO-205 cell migration. Together with our previous findings suggest that FA reduced colorectal cancer development through inhibiting colorectal cancer cell proliferation and migration.
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