CaSm (LSm-1) Over-expression in Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Is Required for Transformed Phenotypes

American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. 2008 Jan 24 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Watson PM, Miller SW, Fraig M, Cole DJ, Watson DK, Boylan AM.

Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Hollings Cancer Center, Charleston, SC, USA.


CaSm (cancer-associated Sm-like) was originally identified based on elevated expression in pancreatic cancer and in several cancer-derived cell lines. It encodes a 133 amino acid protein that contains two Sm motifs found in the common snRNP proteins and the LSm (like-Sm) family of proteins. Lung tumors and mesotheliomas express high levels of CaSm mRNA and protein compared to adjacent non-tumor and normal lung tissue, measured by immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR and western blot analyses. In addition, several human lung cancer and mesothelioma derived cell lines have elevated CaSm expression. Two cell lines, transfected with and expressing antisense CaSm RNA demonstrate altered transformed phenotypes, reducing their ability to form colonies in soft agar and tumors in SCID mice. Furthermore, RNAi-mediated reduction of CaSm RNA and protein is associated with inhibition of cellular growth. These data support the model that elevated CaSm expression in epithelial tissue contributes to the transformed state. Cell lines expressing exogenous CaSm also exhibit transformed characteristics, including increased anchorage-independent colony formation and tumor growth. Thus, the results of loss of function and gain of function studies presented both indicate that CaSm functions as an oncogene in the promotion of cellular transformation and cancer progression.