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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Aug 17;360(1):109-14. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Down-regulation of vimentin expression inhibits carcinoma cell migration and adhesion.

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  • 1Centre for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, DH1 3LE Durham, UK.


Vimentin is a type III Intermediate filament protein that is expressed frequently in epithelial carcinomas correlating with invasiveness and poor prognosis. We have analysed migration and adhesion to collagenous matrix of a panel of carcinoma cell lines. In vitro invasiveness was highest in vimentin-positive SW480 colon cancer and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and the role of vimentin in these cell lines was investigated by RNA interference. Down-regulation of vimentin expression resulted in impaired migration in both scratch-wound experiments and in invasion assays through cell culture inserts coated with collagen gel. Compromised migration was observed in both cell lines, whereas cell attachment assays revealed impaired adhesion to fibrillar collagen in MDA-MB-231 cells while the adhesion of vimentin-ablated SW480 cells, that express both vimentin and keratin intermediate filaments was not affected. In conclusion, ablation of vimentin expression inhibits migration and invasion of colon and breast cancer cell lines.

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