Tissue factor (TF) is a 47 kDa transmembrane glycoprotein that when complexed with its cofactor, factor VIIa (FVIIa), initiates blood coagulation. Apart from hemostasis, TF has been shown to have roles in cellular signaling, development, inflammation, metastasis and angiogenesis. We showed previously that both the cytoplasmic and extracellular domains of TF are required for the full metastatic effect of TF. Recently, we showed that TF-FVIIa-FXa complex induces cellular signaling in human breast cancer cells and is associated with enhanced cell migration and prevention of apoptosis. However, the role of the cytoplasmic domain of TF in tumor cell function is not fully known. In the present study, the role of the cytoplasmic domain of TF in cell migration and adhesion was investigated using the Adr-MCF-7 cell line, a multidrug resistant subline of the human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7. The Adr-MCF-7 cell line has high endogenous expression of TF and expression of PAR1 and PAR2. Adr-MCF-7 cells were retrovirally transfected with either a cDNA construct encoding a FLAG epitope tag fused to the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of TF (known as FLAG-TFCD) or vector (LXSN) alone as a control, and stable, polyclonal cell lines selected using G418. Expression of the FLAG-TFCD construct was verified by RT-PCR, Western blot analysis and flow cytometry. To test the effect of overexpression of the FLAG-TFCD construct on cell motility a modified Boyden chamber chemotaxis assay was used. The control LXSN cell line had a nearly 9 fold increase in cell migration [33.5± 3.2 cells/hpf (mean± SEM)]using the combination of rFVIIa (10 nM) and FX (150 nM) as the chemoattractant compared with 0.1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) [3.9± 1.2 cells/hpf]. In contrast, the FLAG-TFCD cell line had no increase in migration of using the combination of rFVIIa and FX [6.6± 0.57 cells/hpf] compared with BSA [5.4± 0.67 cells/hpf]. We then examined the ability of the transfected cell lines to adhere to type IV collagen. The number of adherent cells for the transfected cell line, FLAG-TFCD, was nearly 3 fold higher than that for the LXSN line using a colorimetric MTS assay (0.295± 0.041 vs 0.119± 0.011). Moreover, treatment of the FLAG-TFCD cells with the combination of rFVIIa and FX increased the adhesion by nearly 2 fold compared with untreated FLAG-TFCD cells (0.561±0.055 vs 0.296±0.044). In summary, overexpression of TF cytoplasmic domain leads to inhibition of tumor cell migration and enhancement of cell adhesion and potentially acts as a dominant negative in these cellular processes. These data suggest that a function of the cytoplasmic domain of TF in metastasis is to regulate tumor cell migration and adhesion.

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