Invasiveness and chemotactic activity of oncogene transformed NIH/3T3 cells

A. Melchiori, S. Carlone, G. Allavena, O. Aresu, S. Parodi, S. A. Aaronson, A. Albini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of oncogenes in the acquisition of invasive and metastatic capabilities is controversial. Interactions with basement membranes are critical in the process of tumor invasion and metastasis. We compared the ability of 3T3 cells transformed by oncogenes involved in various stages of signal transduction to invade a reconstituted basement membrane in vitro and to grow in a three dimensional basement membrane gel (matrigel). Cell lines transformed by various oncogenes and oncoviruses: v-sis (a growth factor), v-erb-B (a truncated EGF receptor), Moloney sarcoma virus (v-mos: a protein kinase homologue), mutated c-ras oncogenes (G protein homologues), FBJ virus (v-fos: a nuclear protein) were investigated. All transformed cell lines were able to invade in the chemoinvasion assay, where a layer of matrigel is coated onto chemotaxis filters. FBJ/3T3 were the least invasive and SSV/3T3 the most invasive. Control 3T3 cells could not cross the matrigel barrier. All transformed cells grew on matrigel forming invasive, branching colonies, whereas control 3T3 were unable to grow in matrigel. Cells transfected with the v-erb-B gene grew as multilayers inside matrigel. Invasiveness and growth on matrigel were accompanied by a high chemotactic response to laminin (LN) in all transformed lines. These results suggest that invasion and growth on matrigel, together with migration to LN, are induced by a large spectrum of oncogenes. When 3T3 cells were transfected with v-sis oncogene under the transcriptional control of the metallothionein (MMT) promoter and exposed to Zn++, their in vitro invasiveness was specifically increased by around 3 fold. These findings provide further evidence supporting a direct role of the v-sis oncogene in the invasive phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • basement membrane
  • chemotaxis
  • invasion
  • oncogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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