Cell-to-cell communication competence in simian virus 40-transfected rat ovarian cells is reduced following tumor selection.
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A pSV3neo-transfected rat ovarian cell line (SV-GC) was developed from a primary granulosa culture (GC) to study gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) during Simian virus 40 (SV40) transformation. SV-GC expressed SV40 large T-antigen (T-ag), grew indefinitely in culture without luteinization, was anchorage independent, and formed tumors in nude mice. Ultrastructural analysis identified abundant gap junctional membrane and suggested that SV-GC was arrested at an early stage of differentiation. Functional GJIC, measured by a dye transfer technique (gap FRAP), was comparable to that observed in normal granulosa cells, suggesting that the expression of T-ag alone was insufficient to reduce GJIC. However, there was approximately a 50% loss in the rate of GJIC in the nude mouse SV-GC-tumor derived and G418 selected cell line (T-SV-GC). SV-GC----T-SV-GC also resulted in a transition from migration of cells as an epithelial sheet to the dissociation of individual fibroblastoid cells. Tumor cell detachment was also seen in migrating malignant human (A2780 and 547) and rat (DC3) ovarian cell lines. Co-culture combinations of normal (GC)----transformed (SV-GC)----tumor-derived (T-SV-GC) cells indicated that the rate of heterologous GJIC was characteristic of the least communicating partner. Taken together, these data suggested that SV-GC----T-SV-GC represented progression toward metastasis with concomitant reduction of GJIC and adhesiveness. These sequentially derived cell lines may be a useful in vitro model system for studies focusing on the mechanism involved in the detachment of cells during the progression of ovarian cancer.