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O-glycosylation of MUC1 mucin in prostate cancer and the effects of its expression on tumor growth in a prostate cancer xenograft model.

Journal article
Authors Pushpa Premaratne
Karin Welén
Jan-Erik Damber
Gunnar C. Hansson
Malin Bäckström
Published in Tumour biology : the journal of the International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine
Volume 32
Issue 1
Pages 203-13
ISSN 1423-0380
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Urology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 203-13
Language en
Keywords Animals, Blotting, Western, Cell Adhesion, Cell Movement, Cell Proliferation, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Flow Cytometry, Glycosylation, Humans, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Nude, Mucin-1, metabolism, Prostatic Neoplasms, metabolism, pathology, Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
Subject categories Urology and andrology, Medical Biotechnology (with a focus on Cell Biology (including Stem Cell Biology), Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or Biopharmacy)


MUC1 mucin is up-regulated and aberrantly glycosylated in many human epithelial carcinomas. Over-expression of MUC1 has also been implicated in prostate cancer, but neither the role of MUC1 in the cancer progression nor the mucin O-glycosylation has been fully elucidated. In this study, we characterized the O-glycans on MUC1 when over-expressed in the human prostate cancer cell line C4-2B(4). We found that the main O-glycan consisted of the neutral core 2 oligosaccharide Galβ3(Galβ3/4GlcNAcβ6)GalNAc-ol, with minor components being fucosylated and sialylated variants of the same core 2 oligosaccharide. Small amounts of the shorter core 1 O-glycans were also detected.We then used the MUC1 over-expressing cell lines to study the effects of MUC1 on prostate cancer cell behavior. The results demonstrate that over-expression of MUC1 did not affect the cells' proliferation, but led to a decreased adhesion to the extracellular matrix components fibronectin and collagen I in vitro. When inoculated in BALB/c nude mice, C4-2B(4) cells expressing MUC1 showed a tendency to form fewer tumors than wt cells and the tumors also grew more slowly, but there was a large variation between different tumors. These findings suggest that MUC1 may not have the same cancer-promoting effect in prostate cancer cells that is commonly seen in other epithelial cancers such as breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer.

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