Cell surface beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase function during invasion and metastasis

Faye Marie Johnson, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Metastasis is the complex process of tumor cell spread which is responsible for the majority of cancer-related deaths. Metastasis necessitates complex phenotypic changes, many of which are mediated by changes in the activities of cell surface molecules. One of these is cell surface $\beta$1,4-galactosyltransferase (GalTase), which is elevated on more highly metastatic cells. In this study, both molecular and biochemical methods were used to perturb and manipulate cell surface GalTase levels on K1735 murine melanoma cell lines in order to examine its function in metastasis. As expected, highly metastatic K1735 variants have higher cell surface GalTase than poorly metastatic variants. Stably transfected K1735 cell lines that overexpress surface GalTase were created. These cell lines were assayed for metastatic ability using an invasion chamber with Matrigel-coated filter inserts. Cells with increased surface GalTase were uniformly more invasive than neo transfected controls. With multiple cell lines, there was a direct correlation (r = 0.918) between surface GalTase activity and invasiveness. Homologous recombination was used to create K1735 cells with decreased levels of surface GalTase. These cells were uniformly less invasive than controls. Cell surface GalTase was inhibited using two different biochemical strategies. In both cases, inhibition of surface GalTase led to a decrease in in vivo metastatic ability of K1735 cells. This is the first direct experimental evidence addressing GalTase function in metastasis. These data provide several lines of independent evidence which show that cell surface GalTase facilitates invasion and metastasis.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Johnson, Faye Marie, "Cell surface beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase function during invasion and metastasis" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9717015.