Failure in O-glycan chain extension exposing Tn antigen (GalNAc-O-Ser/Thr) is clinically associated with cancer metastasis. This study provides evidence of a functional role for aberrant GalNAc-glycans in cancer cell capture from blood flow and / or adhesion to endothelium. Adhesion of breast cancer cells to human umbilical vein endothelial cell monolayers was modelled under sweeping flow. Adhesion of metastatic, GalNAc glycan-rich, MCF7 and ZR 75 1 cells to endothelium increased over timepoints up to 1.5 hour, after which it plateaued. Adhesion was significantly inhibited (p<0.001) when cell surface GalNAc-glycans were masked, an effect not seen in GalNAc glycan-poor, non-metastatic BT 474 cells. Masking irrelevant galactose- and mannose-glycans had no inhibitory effect. Imaging of cells post-adhesion over a 24 hour time course using confocal and scanning electron microscopy revealed that up to 6 hours post-adhesion, motile, rounded cancer cells featuring lamellipodia-like processes crawled on an intact endothelial monolayer. From 6-12 hours post-adhesion, cancer cells became stationary, adopted a smooth, circular flattened morphology, and endothelial cells retracted from around them leaving cleared zones in which the cancer cells proceeded to form colonies through cell division.
Bapu, DRunions, J
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
Year of publication: 2016Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-03-15