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Open Access Research article

The effect of proteoglycans inhibited by RNA interference on metastatic characters of human salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma

Hong Shi1, Jie Wang1*, Fusheng Dong2, Xu Wang1, Hexiang Li1 and Yali Hou1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oral Pathology, Key Laboratory of Stomatology, College of Stomatology, Hebei Medical University, Hebei Province, No. 383 Zhongshan East Road, Shijiazhuang, PR China

2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery, College of Stomatology, Hebei Medical University, Hebei Province, No. 383 Zhongshan East Road, Shijiazhuang, PR China

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:456  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-456

Published: 21 December 2009



Salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC) is one of the most common malignancies of salivary gland. Recurrence or/and early metastasis is its biological properties. In SACC, neoplastic myoepithelial cells secrete proteoglycans unconventionally full of the cribriform or tubular and glandular structures of SACC. Literatures have demonstrated that extracellular matrix provided an essential microenvironment for the biological behavior of SACC. However, there is rare study of the effect of proteoglycans on the potential metastasis of SACC.

In this study, human xylosyltransferase-I (XTLY-I) gene, which catalyzes the rate-limited step of proteoglycans biosynthesis, was knocked down by RNA interference (RNAi) to inhibit the proteoglycans biosynthesis in SACC cell line with high tendency of lung metastasis (SACC-M). The impact of down-regulated proteoglycans on the metastasis characters of SACC-M cells was analyzed and discussed. This research could provide a new idea for the clinical treatment of SACC.


The eukaryotic expression vector of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting XTLY-I gene was constructed and transfected into SACC-M cells. A stably transfectant cell line named SACC-M-WJ4 was isolated. The XTLY-I expression was measured by real-time PCR and Western blot; the reduction of proteoglycans was measured. The invasion and metastasis of SACC-M-WJ4 cells were detected; the effect of down-regulated proteoglycans on the potential lung metastasis of nude mice was observed, respectively.


The shRNA plasmid targeting XTLY-I gene showed powerful efficiency of RNAi. The mRNA level of target gene decreased by 86.81%, the protein level was decreased by 80.10%, respectively. The silence of XTLY-I gene resulted in the reduction of proteoglycans significantly in SACC-M-WJ4 cells. The inhibitory rate of proteoglycans was 58.17% (24 h), 66.06% (48 h), 57.91% (72 h), 59.36% (96 h), and 55.65% (120 h), respectively. The reduction of proteoglycans suppressed the adhesion, invasion and metastasis properties of SACC-M cells, and decreased the lung metastasis of SACC-M cells markedly either.


The data suggested that the silence of XTLY-I gene in SACC-M cells could suppress proteoglycans biosynthesis and secretion significantly. The reduction of proteoglycans inhibited cell adhesion, invasion and metastasis of SACC-M cells. There is a close relationship between proteoglycans and the biological behavior of SACC.