In the present study we transfected the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-negative small cell lung cancer cell line, GLC3, with the type III EGFR mutation (EGFRvIII). The EGFRvIII protein could be detected by Western blot analysis as a 145-kDa protein, which by immunohistochemistry appeared to be localized at the cell surface. Ultrastructurally EGFRvIII was expressed mainly at the cell surface with clusters at cell-cell contacts. In the in vitro invasion assay, GLC3-EGFRvIII cells had a approximately 5-fold increased invasion compared with uninduced GLC3-EGFRvIII, GLC3-Tet-On and the parental cell line. GLC3-Tet-On appeared uniform in size with adherence junctions at cell-cell contacts. In uninduced GLC3-EGFRvIII cells adherence junctions were also present but less distinct. In doxycycline-pretreated GLC3-EGFRvIII cells, adherence junctions were absent. We conclude that the expression of EGFRvIII results in a more malignant phenotype. This effect appears to involve the disruption of adherence junctions.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.