Cell membrane glycosylation mediates the adhesion, migration, and invasion of ovarian carcinoma cells

Rachael C. Casey, Theodore R. Oegema, Keith M. Skubitz, Stefan E. Pambuccian, Suzanne M. Grindle, Amy P.N. Skubitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that ovarian carcinoma cell adhesion to mesothelial cell monolayers and migration toward fibronectin, type IV collagen, and laminin is partially mediated by CD44, a proteoglycan known to affect the functional abilities of tumor cells. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of cell membrane glycosylation in the metastatic abilities of ovarian carcinoma cells. NIH:OVCAR5 cells were treated with glycosidases to remove carbohydrate moieties from molecules on the cells' surface. The ability of the treated cells to adhere to extracellular matrix components or mesothelial cell monolayers, migrate toward extracellular matrix proteins, and invade through Matrigel was assessed. We observed that the loss of different carbohydrate moieties resulted in altered ovarian carcinoma cell adhesion, migration, and/or invasion toward extracellular matrix components or mesothelial cell monolayers. Gene array analysis of NIH:OVCAR5 cells revealed the expression of several proteoglycans, including syndecan 4, decorin, and perlecan. In tissue samples obtained from patients, altered proteoglycan gene expression was observed in primary ovarian carcinoma tumors and secondary metastases, compared to normal ovaries. Taken together, these results suggest that ovarian carcinoma cell proteoglycans affect the cells' ability to adhere, migrate, and invade toward extracellular matrix components and mesothelial cell monolayers. Thus, the carbohydrate modifications of several proteoglycans may mediate the formation and spread of secondary tumor growth in ovarian carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalClinical and Experimental Metastasis
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grants from the National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute (CA0913825), Department of the Army (DA/DAMD17-99-1-9564), Minnesota Medical Foundation (SMF-2078-99), Graduate School Grant-in-Aid of Research (#18118), and the Biomedical Genomics Center, University of Minnesota. The content of the information presented in this article does not necessarily reflect the position of the United States Government.


  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell invasion
  • Cell membrane glycosylation
  • Cell migration
  • Gene expression
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Proteoglycans


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