Intercellular junctions promote homotypic cell to cell adhesion and transfer intracellular signals which control cell growth and apoptosis. Junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) is a transmembrane immunoglobulin located at tight junctions of normal epithelial cells of mammary ducts and glands. In the present paper we show that JAM-A acts as a survival factor for mammary carcinoma cells. JAM-A null mice expressing Polyoma Middle T under MMTV promoter develop significantly smaller mammary tumors than JAM-A positive mice. Angiogenesis and inflammatory or immune infiltrate were not statistically modified in absence of JAM-A but tumor cell apoptosis was significantly increased. Tumor cells isolated from JAM-A null mice or 4T1 cells incubated with JAM-A blocking antibodies showed reduced growth and increased apoptosis which paralleled altered junctional architecture and adhesive function. In a breast cancer clinical data set, tissue microarray data show that JAM-A expression correlates with poor prognosis. Gene expression analysis of mouse tumor samples showed a correlation between genes enriched in human G3 tumors and genes over expressed in JAM-A +/+ mammary tumors. Conversely, genes enriched in G1 human tumors correlate with genes overexpressed in JAM-A-/- tumors. We conclude that down regulation of JAM-A reduces tumor aggressive behavior by increasing cell susceptibility to apoptosis. JAM-A may be considered a negative prognostic factor and a potential therapeutic target.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)