Molecular mechanisms underlying Ca2+-mediated motility of human pancreatic duct cells

Hui Dong, Ki Nam Shim, Jenny M.J. Li, Christine Estrema, Tiffany A. Ornelas, Flang Nguyen, Shanglei Liu, Sonia L. Ramamoorthy, Samuel Ho, John M. Carethers, Jimmy Y.C. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We recently reported that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) induces an increase in cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+] cyt) in pancreatic cancer cells, but the mechanisms by which TGF-β mediates [Ca2+]cyt homeostasis in these cells are currently unknown. Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels and Na +/Ca2+ exchangers (NCX) are plasma membrane proteins that play prominent roles in controlling [Ca2+]cyt homeostasis in normal mammalian cells, but little is known regarding their roles in the regulation of [Ca2+]cyt in pancreatic cancer cells and pancreatic cancer development. Expression and function of NCX1 and TRPC1 proteins were characterized in BxPc3 pancreatic cancer cells. TGF-β induced both intracellular Ca2+ release and extracellular Ca2+ entry in these cells; however, 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate [2-APB; a blocker for both inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) receptor and TRPC], LaCl3 (a selective TRPC blocker), or KB-R7943 (a selective inhibitor for the Ca2+ entry mode of NCX) markedly inhibited the TGF-β-induced increase in [Ca2+]cyt. 2-APB or KB-R7943 treatment was able to dose-dependently reverse membrane translocation of PKCα induced by TGF-β. Transfection with small interfering RNA (siRNA) against NCX1 almost completely abolished NCX1 expression in BxPc3 cells and also inhibited PKCα serine phosphorylation induced by TGF-β. Knockdown of NCX1 or TRPC1 by specific siRNA transfection reversed TGF-β-induced pancreatic cancer cell motility. Therefore, TGF-β induces Ca2+ entry likely via TRPC1 and NCX1 and raises [Ca 2+]cyt in pancreatic cancer cells, which is essential for PKCα activation and subsequent tumor cell invasion. Our data suggest that TRPC1 and NCX1 may be among the potential therapeutic targets for pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C1493-C1503
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Sodium/calcium exchanger
  • Transforming growth factor-beta
  • Transient receptor potential canonical


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