Highly malignant neuroblastoma tumors with MYCN amplification have been shown to downregulate the expression of the CD44 adhesion receptor. We have previously shown that MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cell lines either lack CD44 expression or express a nonfunctional, nonhyaluronic acid-binding CD44 receptor. By analysis of cells with manipulated expression of either CD44 or MYCN, we demonstrate that transfection of cells with a CD44 full-length cDNA construct produced a functional receptor in single copy MYCN cells and a nonfunctional CD44 receptor in MYCN amplified cells, similar to the CD44 receptor expressed by cells with enforced MYCN. Analysis of the in vivo growth properties of the transfectants revealed that the restoration of a functional CD44 receptor in nonamplified cells resulted in the suppression of in vivo cell growth, therefore linking the MYCN-related lack of hyaluronic acid-binding function of CD44 to the highly tumorigenic properties of a subset of neuroblastoma cells.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.