HtrA1 suppresses the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by modulating Notch-1 expression

Pancreatic cancer is well known to be the most deadly malignancy with the worst survival rate of all cancers. High temperature requirement factor A1 (HtrA1) plays an important role in cancer cell proliferation, migration, apoptosis, and differentiation. This study aimed to explore the function of HtrA1 in pancreatic cancer cell growth and its underlying mechanism. We found that the expression of HtrA1 was lower in pancreatic cancer tissue compared to the adjacent normal tissue. Consistently, HtrA1 levels were also decreased in two human pancreatic cancer cell lines, PANC-1 and BXPC-3. Moreover, enforced expression of HtrA1 inhibited cell viability and colony formation of PANC-1 and BXPC-3 cells. Overexpression of HtrA1 promoted apoptosis and suppressed migratory ability of tumor cells. On the contrary, siRNA-mediated knockdown of HtrA1 promoted the growth potential of pancreatic cancer cells. In addition, we found that up-regulation of HtrA1 reduced the expression of Notch-1 in pancreatic cancer cells. On the contrary, knockdown of HtrA1 increased the expression levels of Notch-1. Furthermore, overexpression of Notch-1 abolished the anti-proliferative effect of HtrA1 on pancreatic cancer cells. Taken together, our findings demonstrated that HtrA1 could inhibit pancreatic cancer cell growth via regulating Notch-1 expression, which implied that HtrA1 might be developed as a novel molecular target for pancreatic cancer therapy.