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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

Partial reversal of transformed fusiform phenotype by overexpression of calreticulin

Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal200612:65

Received: 21 September 2006

Accepted: 20 November 2006

Published: 6 December 2006


Calreticulin, a Ca2+-storage and chaperone protein of the ER, has also been shown to affect cell adhesiveness. To examine the effects of differential expression of calreticulin on cellular adhesiveness, we used L fibroblast cell lines stably expressing either elevated or reduced amounts of full length, ER-targeted calreticulin. Overexpression of calreticulin correlates with an increase in adhesiveness of L fibroblasts such that these transformed cells acquire epithelioid morphology and form an epithelial-cell sheet when crowded. Functionally, the “reversal” of transformed phenotype in L fibroblasts differentially overexpressing calreticulin can be accounted for by changes in levels of expression of N-cadherin and vinculin. Structurally, however, although the form and extent of cell-cell contacts in L fibroblasts overexpressing calreticulin mimicked those in normal epithelia, electron microscopical examination revealed that cell-cell junctions formed by these transformed cells bore only superficial resemblance to those of normal epithelia in culture. Our data imply that overexpression of calreticulin, while partially reverses fusiform transformed phenotype is in itself insufficient to re-establish bona fide zonulae adherens in transformed fibroblasts.

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