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Cell Growth & Differentiation, Vol 8, Issue 2 251-260, Copyright © 1997 by American Association of Cancer Research


ARTICLES

Apoptosis is accompanied by changes in Bcl-2 and Bax expression, induced by loss of attachment, and inhibited by specific extracellular matrix proteins in mammary epithelial cells

GR Merio, N Cella and NE Hynes
Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel, Switzerland.

Mammary epithelial cells (MEC) undergo programmed cell death (PCD) when deprived of serum and growth factors at high cell density but not at low density. The addition of epidermal growth factor and insulin to serum-free medium (SFM) completely restores cell survival. In this report, we examine the role of cell-cell and cell-matrix interaction. When cell attachment is prevented, PCD is markedly accelerated. This effect is observed in cells collected at low or high density and is unaffected by calcium depletion. Cells plated in SFM on purified laminin, tenascin C, or collagen IV-coated dishes, as well as on dishes coated with endogenous extracellular matrix deposited by HC11 mammary cells, show reduced PCD. The addition of soluble laminin or tenascin C to suspension cultures of MECs also partially inhibits PCD. In contrast, no effect is seen with fibronectin or collagen I. These results indicate that reduced contact with a solid substrate contributes to the induction of PCD, which might partially explain the fact that it is only observed in confluent cultures. Ectopic Bcl-2 expression in MCF-10-A and HC11 mammary cells results in a complete suppression of PCD. In MCF-10-A cells, the level of endogenous Bcl-2 increases when the survival factors epidermal growth factor and insulin are added to the SFM but is unaffected by cell density. On the contrary, Bax protein expression increases sharply with cell density but does not change upon addition of epidermal growth factor and insulin. When compared to lactating tissue, Bcl-2 protein levels decrease during mammary gland involution. Bax protein levels increase during lactation and remain high during involution. These data suggest that Bcl-2 and Bax might be intracellular mediators of signals that influence MEC apoptosis.


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HOME HELP FEEDBACK SUBSCRIPTIONS ARCHIVE SEARCH TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cancer Research Clinical Cancer Research
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Molecular Cancer Research Cell Growth & Differentiation
Copyright © 1997 by the American Association of Cancer Research.