Genetic manipulation of E-cadherin expression by epithelial tumor cells reveals an invasion suppressor role

Cell. 1991 Jul 12;66(1):107-19. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(91)90143-m.


A cDNA encoding the cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin was transfected into highly invasive epithelial tumor cell lines of dog kidney or mouse mammary gland origin. Transfectants with a homogeneously high expression of E-cadherin showed a reproducible loss of activity in two types of in vitro invasion assays. Invasiveness of these transfectants could be reinduced specifically by treatment with anti-E-cadherin antibodies. In vivo, they formed partly differentiated tumors, instead of fully undifferentiated tumors. Alternatively, a plasmid encoding E-cadherin-specific anti-sense RNA was introduced into noninvasive ras-transformed cells with high endogenous E-cadherin expression. The resulting down-regulation, albeit partial, rendered the cells invasive. These data provide direct evidence that E-cadherin acts as an invasion suppressor molecule.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / analysis
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Chick Embryo
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Genes, ras
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Plasmids
  • Transfection


  • Cadherins