Role of phosphoinositide 3-kinase in the aggressive tumor growth of HT1080 human fibrosarcoma cells

S. Gupta, S. Stuffrein, R. Plattner, M. Tencati, C. Gray, Y. E. Whang, E. J. Stanbridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We have developed a model system of human fibrosarcoma cell lines that do or do not possess and express an oncogenic mutant allele of N-ras. HT1080 cells contain an endogenous mutant allele of N-ras, whereas the derivative MCH603 cell line contains only wild-type N-ras. In an earlier study (S. Gupta et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 20:9294-9306, 2000), we had shown that HT1080 cells produce rapidly growing, aggressive tumors in athymic nude mice, whereas MCH603 cells produced more slowly growing tumors and was termed weakly tumorigenic. An extensive analysis of the Ras signaling pathways (Raf, Rac1, and RhoA) provided evidence for a potential novel pathway that was critical for the aggressive tumorigenic phenotype and could be activated by elevated levels of constitutively active MEK. In this study we examined the role of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) in the regulation of the transformed and aggressive tumorigenic phenotypes expressed in HT1080 cells. Both HT1080 (mutant N-ras) and MCH603 (wild-type N-ras) have similar levels of constitutively active Akt, a downstream target of activated PI 3-kinase. We find that both cell lines constitutively express platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and PDGF receptors. Transfection with tumor suppressor PTEN cDNA into HT1080 and constitutively active PI 3-kinase-CAAX cDNA into MCH603 cells, respectively, resulted in several interesting and novel observations. Activation of the PI 3-kinase/Akt pathway, including NF-κB, is not required for the aggressive tumorigenic phenotype in HT1080 cells. Activation of NF-κB is complex: in MCH603 cells it is mediated by Akt, whereas in HT1080 cells activation also involves other pathway(s) that are activated by mutant Ras. A threshold level of activation of PI 3-kinase is required in MCH603 cells before stimulatory cross talk to the RhoA, Rac1, and Raf pathways occurs, without a corresponding activation of Ras. The increased levels of activation seen were similar to those observed in HT1080 cells, except for Raf and MEK, which were more active than HT1080 levels. This cross talk results in conversion to the aggressive tumorigenic phenotype. This latter observation is consistent with our previous observation that overstimulation of the activity of endogenous members of Ras signaling pathways, activated MEK in particular, is a prerequisite for aggressive tumorigenic growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5846-5856
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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