Chromosome 5 Suppresses Tumorigenicity of PC3 Prostate Cancer Cells: Correlation with Re-Expression of α-Catenin and Restoration of E-Cadherin Function

Charles M. Ewing, Ning Ru, John C. Robinson, William B. Isaacs, Margaret J. Wheelock, Keith R. Johnson, J. Carl Barrett, Ronald A. Morton

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122 Scopus citations


Considerable evidence now exists to support an important role for the E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion pathway as a suppressor of the invasive phenotype in adenocarcinoma cells. Previous studies have found that this pathway is frequently aberrant in prostate cancers, particularly those that are likely to metastasize. In this study, we report on the effects of re-establishment of this pathway in a prostate cancer cell line, PC-3, in which this adhesion system is dysfunctional by virtue of a deletion of the gene that codes for α-catenin, an E-cadherin-associated protein necessary for normal E-cadherin function. Re-expression of α-catenin was accomplished either by transfection of PC-3 cells with a copy of the α-catenin cDNA under the control of a heterologous promoter or by mkroceU-mediated transfer of chromosome 5, which contains the α-catenin gene and its normal regulatory elements. In both cases, re-expression of α-catenin is associated with a similar, dramatic alteration in cell morphology, whereby extensive cell-cell contact is observed. In the case of transfection of the cDNA, this expression is only transient, because the transfected cells either cease to proliferate or, more commonly, revert to the parental phenotype with concomitant cessation of α-catenin expression. In contrast, cells containing one or more copies of mkrocell-transferred chromosome 5 express α-catenin in a stable manner and continue to proliferate. Upon injection into nude mice, these latter cells are no longer tumorigenk, or form only slowly growing tumors with greatly extended doubling times when compared to the parental PC-3 cells. During passage in culture, clones that contain only one transferred copy of chromosome 5 reprodudbly revert to the parental phenotype. This reversion is associated with loss of the chromosome 5 region containing the α-catenin gene and consequent loss of α-catenin expression, as well as re-emergence of tumorigenicity. Transfer of chromosome 5 into prostate cancer cells that are E-cadherin negative does not result in either morphological transformation or suppression of tumorigenicity, suggesting that these effects of α-catenin expression are dependent upon concomitant expression of E-cadherin. These data demonstrate the tumor suppressive ability of chromosome 5 in the PC-3 prostate cancer cells and suggest that re-expression of α-catenin with resultant restoration of E-cadherin function plays a critical role in this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4813-4817
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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