Membrane association of cathepsin B can be induced by transfection of human breast epithelial cells with c-Ha-ras oncogene

Sloane, B.F.; Moin, K.; Sameni, M.; Tait, L.R.; Rozhin, J.; Ziegler, G.

Journal of Cell Science 107: 373-384


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9533
PMID: 8207069
Accession: 002430804

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Alterations in trafficking and increases in expression of the lysosomal proteases cathepsins B, D and L have been observed in transformed cells and malignant tumors, including human breast carcinoma. ras and the related rab proteins participate in the vesicular transport processes required for normal trafficking of lysosomal enzymes. In addition, transfection of murine fibroblasts with the ras oncogene has been shown to increase the expression of cathepsins L and B. As human cancers are primarily epithelial in origin, we have investigated whether there are alterations in the trafficking and expression of cathepsin B in MCF-10 human breast epithelial cells transfected with wild-type and mutated ras. In all cells examined, i.e. mortal MCF-10M cells, immortal MCF-10A or MCF-10F cells, and transfected MCF-10A cells (transfected with the neomycin resistance gene (MCF-10Aneo) or cotransfected with wild-type protooncogenic ras (NICF-10AneoN) or mutated oncogenic ras (MCF-10AneoT)), levels of mRNA transcripts for cathepsin B were similar. However, alterations in trafficking of cathepsin B were observed in the cells transfected with oncogenic ras. In these cells there was an increased association of cathepsin B activity and cathepsin B protein with plasma membrane/endosomal fractions and a more peripheral distribution of immunofluorescent staining for cathepsin B. At the electron microscopic level, immunogold labeling for cathepsin B was localized to the cell membrane as well as to vesicles in the microvilli and adjacent to the cell membrane. In the parental MCF-10A cells, in contrast, cathepsin B was localized to vesicles in the perinuclear region. The cathepsin B associated with plasma membrane/endosomal fractions in the cells transfected with oncogenic ras was mature cathepsin B as demonstrated by immunoblot analysis. This was confirmed further by showing an absence of peripheral immunofluorescent staining in these cells using an antibody specific for the propeptide of cathepsin B. Thus, we have demonstrated by multiple techniques that transfection of human breast epithelial cells with oncogenic ras results in alterations in the trafficking of cathepsin B similar to those observed previously in human and animal tumors of both epithelial and mesenchymal origin.