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Br J Cancer. 2000 Sep;83(6):782-91.

Stable transfection of protein kinase C alpha cDNA in hormone-dependent breast cancer cell lines.

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Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611-3008, USA.


An inverse relationship between protein kinase C (PKC) activity and oestrogen receptor (ER) expression in human breast cell lines and tumours has been firmly established over the past 10 years. To determine whether specific alterations in PKC expression accompany hormone-independence, we examined the expression of PKC isozymes in the hormone-independent human breast cancer cell clones MCF-7 5C and T47D:C42 compared with their hormone-dependent counterparts, MCF-7 A4, MCF-7 WS8 and T47D:A18 respectively. Both hormone-independent cell clones exhibit elevated PKC alpha expression and increased basal AP-1 activity compared with the hormone-dependent cell clones. To determine whether PKC alpha overexpression is sufficient to mediate the hormone-independent phenotype, we stably transfected an expression plasmid containing PKC alpha cDNA to the T47D:A18 and MCF-7 A4 cell lines. This is the first report of PKC alpha transfection in T47D cells. In contrast to MCF-7 cells, T47D has the propensity to lose the ER and more readily forms tamoxifen-stimulated tumours in athymic mice. We find that in T47D:A18/PKC alpha clones, there is concomitant up-regulation of PKC beta I and delta, whereas in the MCF-7 A4/PKC alpha transfectants PKC epsilon is up-regulated. In T47D:A18, but not in MCF-7 A4, PKC alpha stable transfection is accompanied by down-regulation of ER function whilst basal AP-1 activity is elevated. Our results suggest PKC alpha overexpression may play a role in growth signalling during the shift from hormone dependent to hormone-independent breast cancers.

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