Theranostics 2020; 10(17):7545-7560. doi:10.7150/thno.46001

Research Paper

Nuclear MYH9-induced CTNNB1 transcription, targeted by staurosporin, promotes gastric cancer cell anoikis resistance and metastasis

Gengtai Ye1,2*, Qingbin Yang1,2*, Xuetao Lei1,2*, Xianjun Zhu1,4*, Fengping Li1,2, Jiayong He1,2, Hao Chen1,2, Ruoyu Ling1,2, Haisheng Zhang3, Tian Lin1,2, Zhiping Liang1,2, Yanrui Liang1,2, Haipeng Huang1,2, Weihong Guo1,2, Haijun Deng1,2, Hao Liu1,2, Yanfeng Hu1,2, Jiang Yu1,2, Guoxin Li1,2✉

1. Department of General Surgery, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangdong Provincial Engineering Technology Research Center of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510515, China.
2. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Precision Medicine for Gastrointestinal Tumor, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510515, China.
3. Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4. Present address: Department of General Surgery, Panyu Central Hospital, Guangzhou, Guangdong 511400, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Ye G, Yang Q, Lei X, Zhu X, Li F, He J, Chen H, Ling R, Zhang H, Lin T, Liang Z, Liang Y, Huang H, Guo W, Deng H, Liu H, Hu Y, Yu J, Li G. Nuclear MYH9-induced CTNNB1 transcription, targeted by staurosporin, promotes gastric cancer cell anoikis resistance and metastasis. Theranostics 2020; 10(17):7545-7560. doi:10.7150/thno.46001. Available from

File import instruction


Rationale: Peritoneal metastasis predicts poor prognosis of gastric cancer (GC) patients, and the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.

Methods: The 2-DIGE, MALDI-TOF/TOF MS and single-cell transcriptome were used to detect differentially expressed proteins among normal gastric mucosa, primary GC and peritoneal metastatic tissues. Lentiviruses carrying shRNA and transcription activator-like effector nuclease technology were used to knock down myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) expression in GC cell lines. Immunofluorescence, immune transmission electron microscopy, chromatin fractionation, co-immunoprecipitation, and assays for chromatin immunoprecipitation, dual luciferase reporter, agarose-oligonucleotide pull-down, flow cytometry and cell anoikis were performed to uncover nuclear MYH9-induced β-catenin (CTNNB1) transcription in vitro. Nude mice and conditional transgenic mice were used to investigate the findings in vivo.

Results: We observed that MYH9 was upregulated in metastatic GC tissues and was associated with a poor prognosis of GC patients. Mechanistically, we confirmed that MYH9 was mainly localized in the GC cell nuclei by four potential nuclear localization signals. Nuclear MYH9 bound to the CTNNB1 promoter through its DNA-binding domain, and interacted with myosin light chain 9, β-actin and RNA polymerase II to promote CTNNB1 transcription, which conferred resistance to anoikis in GC cells in vitro and in vivo. Staurosporine reduced nuclear MYH9 S1943 phosphorylation to inhibit CTNNB1 transcription, Wnt/β-catenin signaling activation and GC progression in both orthotropic xenograft GC nude mouse and transgenic GC mouse models.

Conclusion: This study identified that nuclear MYH9-induced CTNNB1 expression promotes GC metastasis, which could be inhibited by staurosporine, indicating a novel therapy for GC peritoneal metastasis.

Keywords: gastric cancer, MYH9, CTNNB1, anoikis resistance, metastasis