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Differentiation. 2003 Dec;71(9-10):542-8.

Quantum dot-based cell motility assay.

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Department of Chemistry University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Motility and migration are measurable characteristics of cells that are classically associated with the invasive potential of cancer cells, but in vitro assays of invasiveness have been less than perfect. We previously developed an assay to monitor cell motility and migration using water-soluble CdSe/ZnS nanocrystals; cells engulf the fluorescent nanocrystals as they crawl across them and leave behind a fluorescent-free trail. We show here that semiconductor nanocrystals can also be used as a sensitive two-dimensional in vitro invasion assay. We used this assay to compare the behavior of seven different adherent human cell lines, including breast epithelial MCF 10A, breast tumor MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-435S, MCF 7, colon tumor SW480, lung tumor NCI H1299, and bone tumor Saos-2, and observed two distinct behaviors of cancer cells that can be used to further categorize these cells. Some cancer cell lines demonstrate fibroblastic behaviors and leave long fluorescent-free trails as they migrate across the dish, whereas other cancer cells leave clear zones of varying sizes around their periphery. This assay uses fluorescence detection, requires no processing, and can be used in live cell studies. These features contribute to the increased sensitivity of this assay and make it a powerful new tool for discriminating between non-invasive and invasive cancer cell lines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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