, Volume 31, Issue 8, pp 633-639

Removal of sialic acid from the surface of human MCF-7 mammary cancer cells abolishes E-cadherin-dependent cell-cell adhesion in an aggregation assay

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Summary

MCF-7 human breast cancer cells express E-cadherin and show, at least in some circumstances, E-cadherin-dependent cell-cell adhesion (Bracke et al., 1993). The MCF-7/AZ variant spontaneously displays E-cadherin-dependent fast aggregation; in the MCF-7/6 variant, E-cadherin appeared not to be spontaneously functional in the conditions of the fast aggregation assay, but function could be induced by incubation of the suspended cells in the presence of insulinlike growth factor I (IGF-I) (Bracke et al., 1993).

E-cadherin from MCF-7 cells was shown to contain sialic acid. Treatment with neuraminidase was shown to remove this sialic acid, as well as most of the sialic acid present at the cell surface. Applied to MCF-7/AZ, and MCF-7/6 cells, pretreatment with neuraminidase abolished spontaneous as well as IGF-I induced, E-cadherin-dependent fast cell-cell adhesion of cells in suspension, as measured in the fast aggregation assay. Treatment with neuraminidase did not, however, inhibit the possibly different, but equally E-cadherin-mediated, process of cell-cell adhesion of MCF-7 cells on a flat plastic substrate as assessed by determining the percentage of cells remaining isolated (without contact with other cells) 24 h after plating.