Background & Aims: CD44 variant 9 (CD44v9)-positive cancer stem-like cells strongly contribute to the development and recurrence of gastric cancer. However, the origin of CD44v9-positive cells is uncertain. Methods: CD44v9, β-catenin, and epithelial splicing regulatory protein 1 signals were assessed by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, immunoblot analysis, or immunofluorescence microscopy. Capping actin protein of muscle Z-line α subunit 1 (CAPZA1) expression was assessed by immunoblot analysis or immunohistochemical analysis of Mongolian gerbils' gastric mucosa or human biopsy specimens. Levels of oxidative stress were assessed by measuring malondialdehyde and protein carbonylation. Histone H3 acetylation levels in the CAPZA1 proximal promoter region were measured by using chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis with an antibody against the acetylated histone H3 in human gastric carcinoma cell line (AGS) cells. Results: CD44v9 is expressed in CAPZA1-overexpressing cells in human gastric cancer tissues. CAPZA1 overexpression enhanced expression of β-catenin, which is a transcription factor for CD44, and epithelial splicing regulatory protein 1, which increases alternative splicing of CD44 to generate CD44v9. CAPZA1-overexpressing cells after cytotoxin-associated gene A accumulation showed CD44v9 expression by inducing nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, concomitant with the enhancement of expression of Sal-like protein 4 and Krüppel-like factor 5, which encode reprogramming factors. Oxidative stress increased the CAPZA1 expression in AGS cells through the enhancement of histone H3 acetylation of CAPZA1 promoter. CAPZA1 expression was increased depending on oxidative stress in H pylori–infected gastric mucosa. Conclusions: CD44v9 expression is evoked from CAPZA1-overexpressing cells after accumulation of cytotoxin-associated gene A. Our findings provide important insights into the mechanisms underlying the development of CD44v9-positive cells.
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