Mycophenolic acid (MPA) is the metabolized product and active element of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) that has been widely used for the prevention of acute graft rejection. MPA potently inhibits inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) that is up-regulated in many tumors and MPA is known to inhibit cancer cell proliferation as well as fibroblast and endothelial cell migration. In this study, we demonstrated for the first time MPA's antimigratory and anti-invasion abilities of MPA-sensitive AGS (gastric cancer) cells. Genome-wide expression analyses using Illumina whole genome microarrays identified 50 genes with ≥2 fold changes and 15 genes with > 4 fold alterations and multiple molecular pathways implicated in cell migration. Real-time RT-PCR analyses of selected genes also confirmed the expression differences. Furthermore, targeted proteomic analyses identified several proteins altered by MPA treatment. Our results indicate that MPA modulates gastric cancer cell migration through down-regulation of a large number of genes (PRKCA, DOCK1, INF2, HSPA5, LRP8 and PDGFRA) and proteins (PRKCA, AKT, SRC, CD147 and MMP1) with promigratory functions as well as up-regulation of a number of genes with antimigratory functions (ATF3, SMAD3, CITED2 and CEAMCAM1). However, a few genes that may promote migration (CYR61 and NOS3) were up-regulated. Therefore, MPA's overall antimigratory role on cancer cells reflects a balance between promigratory and antimigratory signals influenced by MPA treatment.
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