Genetic Deletion of the Desmosomal Component Desmoplakin Promotes Tumor Microinvasion in a Mouse Model of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Carcinogenesis
We used the RIP1-Tag2 (RT2) mouse model of islet cell carcinogenesis to profile the transcriptome of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNET) that were either non-invasive or highly invasive, seeking to identify pro- and anti-invasive molecules. Expression of multiple components of desmosomes, structures that help maintain cellular adhesion, was significantly reduced in invasive carcinomas. Genetic deletion of one of these desmosomal components, desmoplakin, resulted in increased local tumor invasion without affecting tumor growth parameters in RT2 PNETs. Expression of cadherin 1, a component of the adherens junction adhesion complex, was maintained in these tumors despite the genetic deletion of desmoplakin. Our results demonstrate that loss of desmoplakin expression and resultant disruption of desmosomal adhesion can promote increased local tumor invasion independent of adherens junction status.