Modulation of endogenous beta-tubulin isotype expression as a result of human beta(III)cDNA transfection into prostate carcinoma cells

Br J Cancer. 2001 Sep 1;85(5):735-40. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2001.1956.


Increases of individual beta tubulin isotypes in antimicrotubule drug resistant cell lines have been reported by several laboratories. We have previously described elevations in beta(III)and beta(IVa)isotypes in estramustine and paclitaxel resistant human prostate carcinoma cells. To investigate further the function of beta tubulin isotypes in antimicrotubule drug response, human prostate carcinoma cells that normally have very low to undetectable levels of beta(III)were stably transfected with beta(III)cDNA in pZeoSV system. An 18 bp haemagglutinin (HA) epitope tag was added at the 3' end prior to cloning into the vector. Cells were transfected with pZeoSV or pZeoSV-beta(III)plasmids and selected in the presence of Zeocin. Immunofluorescent staining of the transfectant cells have shown significant expression and incorporation of HA-tagged beta(III)tubulin into cellular microtubules. Quantitation of Western blots revealed the HA-tagged beta(III)levels to be approximately 7-fold higher than the vector control cells. RT-PCR analysis confirmed the increase at the transcript level and also revealed a collateral increase of beta(II)and beta(IVb)transcripts. Cell viability assays indicated that sensitivity of beta(III)transfected cells to various antimicrotubule agents was similar to vector transfected cells: IC50 values for estramustine, paclitaxel, colchicine and vinblastine were 4 microM, 4 nM, 22 nM and 2 nM, respectively for both cell lines. Thus, overexpression of beta(III)isotype in human prostate carcinoma cells by stable transfection failed to confer antimicrotubule drug resistance to these cells. Counterregulatory increases of endogenous beta(II)and beta(IVb)tubulin isotypes in these beta(III)transfected cells may be a compensatory mechanism used by the cells to overcome the effects of elevated beta(III)levels on the cellular microtubules. These results highlight the difficulty in isolating the contribution of single tubulin isotypes in drug response studies.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Colchicine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Estramustine / pharmacology
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microtubules / drug effects*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transfection
  • Tubulin / genetics
  • Tubulin / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Vinblastine / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Tubulin
  • Estramustine
  • Vinblastine
  • Paclitaxel
  • Colchicine