Aim: Inhibitor of DNA-binding (ID) proteins are negative regulators of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors that generally stimulate cell proliferation and inhibit differentiation. However, the role of ID2 in cancer progression remains ambiguous. Here, we investigated the function of ID2 in ID2-null oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells. Materials and Methods: We introduced an ID2 cDNA construct into ID2-null OSCC cells and compared them with empty-vector-transfected cells in terms of cell proliferation, invasion, and activity and expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP). Results: ID2 introduction resulted in enhanced malignant phenotypes. The ID2-expressing cells showed increased N-cadherin, vimentin, and E-cadherin expression and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In addition, cell invasion drastically increased with increased expression and activity of MMP2. Immunoprecipitation revealed a direct interaction between ID2 and zinc finger transcription factor, snail family transcriptional repressor 1 (SNAIL1). Conclusion: ID2 expression triggered a malignant phenotype, especially of invasive properties, through the ID2- SNAIL axis. Thus, ID2 represents a potential therapeutic target for OSCC.
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