• Proteomic analysis of the effects of cell culture density on the metastasis of breast cancer cells.

Proteomic analysis of the effects of cell culture density on the metastasis of breast cancer cells.

Cell biochemistry and function (2019-02-19)
Man-Lan Guo, Mi-Xin Sun, Jin-Zhi Lan, Li-Sha Yan, Jing-Juan Zhang, Xiao-Xia Hu, Shu Xu, Da-Hua Mao, Hai-Song Yang, Ya-Wei Liu, Teng-Xiang Chen

Cancer cell progression and proliferation increase cell density, resulting in changes to the tumour site, including the microenvironment. What is not known is if increased cell density influences the aggressiveness of cancer cells, especially their proliferation, migration, and invasion capabilities. In this study, we found that dense cell culture enhances the aggressiveness of the metastatic cancer cell lines, 4T1 and ZR-75-30, by increasing their proliferation, migration, and invasion capabilities. However, a less metastatic cell line, MCF-7, did not show an increase in aggressiveness, following dense cell culture conditions. We conducted a differential proteomic analysis on 4T1 cells cultured under dense or sparse conditions and identified an increase in expression for proteins involved in migration, including focal adhesion, cytoskeletal reorganization, and transendothelial migration. In contrast, 4T1 cells grown under sparse conditions had higher expression levels for proteins involved in metabolism, including lipid and phospholipid binding, lipid and cholesterol transporter activity, and protein binding. These results suggest that the high-density tumour microenvironment can cause a change in cellular behaviour, leading towards more aggressive cancers. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: Metastasis of cancer cells is an obstacle to the clinical treatment of cancer. We found that dense cultures made metastatic cancer cells more potent in terms of proliferation, migration, and invasion. The proteomic and bioinformatic analyses provided some valuable clues for further intensive studies about the effects of cell density on cancer cell aggressiveness, which were associated with events such as pre-mRNA splicing and RNA transport, focal adhesion and cytoskeleton reorganization, ribosome biogenesis, and transendothelial migration, or associated with proteins, such as JAM-1 and S100A11. This investigation gives us new perspectives to investigate the metastasis mechanisms related to the microenvironment of tumour sites.