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Ecto-5'-nucleotidase (eN, CD73) is coexpressed with metastasis promoting antigens in human melanoma cells.

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Department of Enzymology, Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland.


Upregulated expression of eN has been found in the highly invasive human melanoma cell lines but neither in melanocytes nor in primary tumor cells. Membrane proteins associated with cell adhesion and metastasis: alpha5-, beta1-, beta3-integrins, and CD44 were elevated gradually in accordance with increasing metastatic potential. alphav-integrin was seen mostly in aggressive melanomas. The expression of eN correlated with a number of metastasis-related markers and thus may have a function in the process. eN activity went parallel with its amount in all cells. Concanavalin A strongly inhibited the enzyme in a noncompetitive way. Clustering of eN protein in overexpressing cells by ConA-treatment increased the enzyme association with the heavy cytoskeletal complexes. A similar shift towards cytoskeletal fractions took also place with other membrane proteins coexpressed with eN. This ConA-induced association may reflect a putative interaction of eN with physiological ligand, that upon interaction, aggregates protein components of lipid rafts and triggers signaling pathway that may be intrinsically involved in cell-stroma adhesion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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