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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of glucosylceramide synthase, converting ceramide to glucosylceramide, confers adriamycin resistance in human breast cancer cells.

Multidrug-resistant cancer cells display elevated levels of glucosylceramide (Lavie, Y., Cao, H. T., Volner, A., Lucci, A., Han, T. Y., Geffen, V., Giuliano, A. E., and Cabot, M. C. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 1682-1687). In this study, we have introduced glucosylceramide synthase ( GCS) into wild type MCF-7 breast cancer cells using a retroviral tetracycline-on expression system, and we developed a cell line, MCF-7/ GCS. MCF-7/ GCS cells expressed an 11-fold higher level of GCS activity compared with the parental cell line. Interestingly, the transfected cells demonstrated strong resistance to adriamycin and to ceramide, whereas both agents were highly cytotoxic to MCF-7 cells. The EC50 values of adriamycin and ceramide were 11-fold (p < 0.0005) and 5-fold (p < 0.005) higher, respectively, in MCF-7/ GCS cells compared with MCF-7 cells. Ceramide resistance displayed by MCF-7/ GCS cells closely paralleled the activity of expressed GCS with a correlation coefficient of 0.99. In turn, cellular resistance and GCS activity were dependent upon the concentration of the expression mediator doxycycline. Adriamycin resistance in MCF-7/ GCS cells was related to the hyperglycosylation of ceramide and was not related to shifts in the levels of either P-glycoprotein or Bcl-2. This work demonstrates that overexpression of GCS, which catalyzes ceramide glycosylation, induces resistance to adriamycin and ceramide in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.[1]


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