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Title: Context dependent reversion of tumor phenotype by connexin-43 expression in MDA-MB231 cells and MCF-7 cells: Role of β-catenin/connexin43 association

Connexins (Cx), gap junction (GJ) proteins, are regarded as tumor suppressors, and Cx43 expression is often down regulated in breast tumors. We assessed the effect of Cx43 over-expression in 2D and 3D cultures of two breast adenocarcinoma cell lines: MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. While Cx43 over-expression decreased proliferation of 2D and 3D cultures of MCF-7 by 56% and 80% respectively, MDA-MB-231 growth was not altered in 2D cultures, but exhibited 35% reduction in 3D cultures. C-terminus truncated Cx43 did not alter proliferation. Untransfected MCF-7 cells formed spherical aggregates in 3D cultures, and MDA-MB-231 cells formed stellar aggregates. However, MCF-7 cells over-expressing Cx43 formed smaller sized clusters and Cx43 expressing MDA-MB-231 cells lost their stellar morphology. Extravasation ability of both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells was reduced by 60% and 30% respectively. On the other hand, silencing Cx43 in MCF10A cells, nonneoplastic human mammary cell line, increased proliferation in both 2D and 3D cultures, and disrupted acinar morphology. Although Cx43 over-expression did not affect total levels of β-catenin, α-catenin and ZO-2, it decreased nuclear levels of β-catenin in 2D and 3D cultures of MCF-7 cells, and in 3D cultures of MDA-MB-231 cells. Cx43 associated at the membrane with α-catenin, β-catenin and ZO-2 inmore » 2D and 3D cultures of MCF-7 cells, and only in 3D conditions in MDA-MB-231 cells. This study suggests that Cx43 exerts tumor suppressive effects in a context-dependent manner where GJ assembly with α-catenin, β-catenin and ZO-2 may be implicated in reducing growth rate, invasiveness, and, malignant phenotype of 2D and 3D cultures of MCF-7 cells, and 3D cultures of MDA-MB-231 cells, by sequestering β-catenin away from nucleus. - Highlights: • Cx43 over-expressing MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 were grown in 2D and 3D cultures. • Proliferation and growth morphology were affected in a context dependent manner. • Extravasation ability of both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells was reduced. • Cx43-mediated gap junction complex assembly correlated with observed changes. • We propose that membranous Cx43 sequesters β-catenin away from the nucleus.« less
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  1. Department of Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Beirut (Lebanon)
  2. Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Beirut (Lebanon)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Experimental Cell Research; Journal Volume: 319; Journal Issue: 20; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States