Ceramide synthase 6 (CERS6) promotes lung cancer metastasis by stimulating cancer cell migration. To examine the underlying mechanisms, we performed luciferase analysis of the CERS6 promoter region and identified the Y-box as a cis-acting element. As a parallel analysis of database records for 149 non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cancer patients, we screened for trans-acting factors with an expression level showing a correlation with CERS6 expression. Among the candidates noted, silencing of either CCAAT enhancer-binding protein γ (CEBPγ) or Y-box binding protein 1 (YBX1) reduced the CERS6 expression level. Following knockdown, CEBPγ and YBX1 were found to be independently associated with reductions in ceramide-dependent lamellipodia formation as well as migration activity, while only CEBPγ may have induced CERS6 expression through specific binding to the Y-box. The mRNA expression levels of CERS6, CEBPγ, and YBX1 were positively correlated with adenocarcinoma invasiveness. YBX1 expression was observed in all 20 examined clinical lung cancer specimens, while 6 of those showed a staining pattern similar to that of CERS6. The present findings suggest promotion of lung cancer migration by possible involvement of the transcription factors CEBPγ and YBX1.
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