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Keywords:

  • MUC1 gene;
  • Mucin;
  • Anti-adhesion activity;
  • Tumor cell growth;
  • Growth regulation

MUC1 mucin is expressed in a wide variety of tumors and is considered to function as an anti-adhesion molecule which inhibits cell-to-cell interactions. To reveal the biological significance of this activity in tumor cells, MUC1 cDNA was transfected into EJNIH3T3 cells and human colon cancer cell lines, CHCY1 and DLD1. The in vivo growth rate of MUC1+ (MUC1-transfected) EJNIH3T3, CHCY1 and DLD1 cells in SCID mice was clearly lower than that of MUC1 (mock transfectant) cells. Several in vitro experiments using MUC1+ EJNIH3T3 cells were performed to analyze the mechanisms for the decreased in vivo tumor growth. It was found that (i) the in vitro growth rate of MUC1+ EJNIH3T3 cells was also decreased compared to that of MUC1 cells, (ii) the DNA synthesis of MUC1+ EJNIH3T3 cells after stimulation with either growth factor (fetal calf serum or bombesin) or extracellular matrix (collagen or fibronectin) was lower than that of MUC1 cells, and (iii) MUC1+ EJNIH3T3 cells grew more slowly than MUC1 cells on both collagen- and fibronectin-coated dishes. These data suggest that MUC1 mucin may regulate tumor cell growth through inhibition of cell-to-cell, growth factor-to-receptor and cell-to-matrix interactions.