Protein Profiles Associated with Anoikis Resistance of Metastatic MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cells


Resistance to anoikis, a cell-detachment induced apoptosis, is one of the malignant phenotypes which support tumor metastasis. Molecular mechanisms underlying the establishment of this phenotype require further investigation. This study aimed at exploring protein expression profiles associated with anoikis resistance of a metastatic breast cancer cell. Cell survival of suspension cultures of non metastatic MCF-7 and metastatic MDA-MB-231 cells were compared with their adherent cultures. Trypan blue exclusion assays demonstrated a significantly higher percentage of viable cells in MDA-MB-231 than MCF-7 cell cultures, consistent with analysis of annexin V-7-AAD stained cells indicating that MDA-MB-231 possess anti apoptotic ability 1.7 fold higher than MCF-7 cells. GeLC-MS/MS analysis of protein lysates of MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells grown under both culture conditions identified 925 proteins which are differentially expressed, 54 of which were expressed only in suspended and adherent MDA-MB-231 but not in MCF-7 cells. These proteins have been implicated in various cellular processes, including DNA replication and repair, transcription, translation, protein modification, cytoskeleton, transport and cell signaling. Analysis based on the STITCH database predicted the interaction of phospholipases, PLC and PLD, and 14-3-3 beta/alpha, YWHAB, with the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic signaling network, suggesting putative roles in controlling anti-anoikis ability. MDA-MB-231 cells grown in the presence of inhibitors of phospholipase C, U73122, and phospholipase D, FIPI, demonstrated reduced ability to survive in suspension culture, indicating functional roles of PLC and PLD in the process of anti-anoikis. Our study identified intracellular mediators potentially associated with establishment of anoikis resistance of metastatic cells. These proteins require further clarification as prognostic and therapeutic targets for advanced breast cancer.