Bone marrow mesenchymal/fibroblastic stromal cells induce a distinctive EMT-like phenotype in AML cells

N Nojszewska, O Idilli, D Sarkar, Z Ahouiyek, Y Arroyo-Berdugo, C Sandoval, M S Amin-Anjum, S Bowers, D Greaves, L Saeed, S Salti, S Al-Shami, H Topoglu, J K Punzalan, J G Farias, Y Calle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) like features is emerging as a critical factor involved in the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). However, the extracellular signals and the signalling pathways in AML that may regulate EMT remain largely unstudied. We found that the bone marrow (BM) mesenchymal/fibroblastic cell line HS5 induces an EMT-like migratory phenotype in AML cells. AML cells underwent a strong increase of vimentin (VIM) levels that was not mirrored to the same extent by changes of expression of the other EMT core proteins SNAI1 and SNAI2. We validated these particular pattern of co-expression of core-EMT markers in AML cells by performing an in silico analysis using datasets of human tumours. Our data showed that in AML the expression levels of VIM does not completely correlate with the co-expression of core EMT markers observed in epithelial tumours. We also found that vs epithelial tumours, AML cells display a distinct patterns of co-expression of VIM and the actin binding and adhesion regulatory proteins that regulate F-actin dynamics and integrin-mediated adhesions involved in the invasive migration in cells undergoing EMT. We conclude that the BM stroma induces an EMT related pattern of migration in AML cells in a process involving a distinctive regulation of EMT markers and of regulators of cell adhesion and actin dynamics that should be further investigated. Understanding the tumour specific signalling pathways associated with the EMT process may contribute to the development of new tailored therapies for AML as well as in different types of cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151334
JournalEuropean Journal of Cell Biology
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jun 2023

Cite this