Identification of a unique set of genes altered during cell-cell contact in an in vitro model of prostate cancer bone metastasis

Jun Wang, Anait S. Levenson, Robert L. Satcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


The interaction between prostate cancer cells and bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) is critical for survival and proliferation of metastatic cancer cells in the bone microenvironment. In order to study molecular mechanisms of prostate cancer bone metastasis, we established a novel heterotypic co-culture system, in which the role of direct cell-cell contact between prostate cancer cells and BMSC in addition to soluble factors can be analyzed. Using both bi-compartmental (insert) system and heterotypic (contact) system, we identified gene expression profiles of interaction between prostate cancer and bone cells. Analysis of differential gene expressions in these two co-culture systems revealed three distinctive sets of genes: 1) genes that were modified only by soluble factors; 2) genes that were regulated by both soluble factors and physical contact; and 3) genes that were altered only by physical contact. The last group consisted of specific set of genes including collagen III, IV, X, XII, integrin α1, α2, MMP-2, MMP-9, uPA, biglycan, osteopontin and raf-1 in PC3, and collagen VIII, IX, BMP6, TGFβ1, Smad6 and Twist in BMSC. Among genes that were modified by both soluble factors and physical contact, the gene expression was affected in the same direction (such as MKK4) or in the opposite direction (such as TGFβ receptor 3). Overall, this suggests that heterotypic cell-cell contact may act as an independent factor affecting the progression of bone metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-856
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of molecular medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2006



  • Bone marrow stromal cells
  • Bone metastasis
  • Cell-cell contact
  • Gene expression profile
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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