Sialidase gene transfection enhances epidermal growth factor receptor activity in an epidermoid carcinoma cell line, A4311

Emmanuelle J. Meuillet, Roger Kroes, Hirotaka Yamamoto, Thomas G. Warner, Jeffry Ferrari, Barbara Mania-Farnell, David George, Abdelhadi Rebbaa, Joseph R. Moskal, Eric G. Bremer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Glycosphingolipids expressed in cancer cells have been implicated in the modulation of tumor cell growth through their interaction with transmembrane signaling molecules such as growth factor receptors. For glycosphingolipids to interact with growth factor receptors, the presence of sialic acid seems to be essential. Stable transfection of a gene encoding a soluble Mr 42,000 sialidase into a human epidermoid carcinoma cell line (A431) provided an approach by which the level of terminal lipid-bound sialic acid on the cell surface could be altered. In the sialidase-positive clones, the level of ganglioside GM3 was diminished, and little change was observed in protein sialylatlon. Sialidase-transfected cells grew faster than control cells. Sialidase expression did not modify the binding of epidermal growth factor (EGF) to its receptor but enhanced EGF receptor (EGFR) tyrosine autophosphorylation as compared to that of parental cells or cells transfected with the vector (pcDNA3) alone. Moreover, the phosphorylation of the EGFR, as well as other protein substrates, was observed at low EGF concentrations, suggesting an increase in the receptor kinase sensitivity. These data provided evidence that changes in ganglioside expression in cancer cells by appropriate gene transfection can dramatically affect EGFR kinase activity. Hence, the modulation of ganglioside expression may represent an approach to alter tumor cell growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-240
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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