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Journal Of Cell Biology


Cell–matrix and cell–cell adhesion are recognized physiological determinants of cell growth and survival. In epithelial and endothelial cell systems, oncogenic transformation has in several cases been shown to confer resistance to apoptosis upon depriving cells of substrate adhesion. We examined the effects of oncogenic transformation in adherent versus adhesion- deprived primary embryonic fibroblasts. Whereas untransformed early passage fibroblasts undergo cell cycle arrest, their Myc/Ras- or E1A/Ras-transformed counterparts rapidly enter apoptosis when placed into suspension. This phenomenon also occurs upon incubation with a soluble, RGD-containing integrin ligand and is blocked by a peptide antagonist to ICE family proteases or by aggregation of cells plated at high density. Loss of wild-type p53 modulates the kinetics but does not abrogate this death pathway. Transformation with activated Src rather than Ras rendered fibroblasts selectively resistant to adhesion-dependent apoptosis, an effect likely related to Src's role in integrin signaling, while simultaneously sensitizing the cells to radiation-induced apoptosis. Thus cell adhesion events regulate transformation-selective apoptosis in fibroblasts and provide potentially important targets for understanding and interfering with tumor cell viability.


This article is freely available courtesy of Rockefeller University Press.
This article was published on August 25, 1997 at

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