Mammary epithelium-specific inactivation of V-ATPase reduces stiffness of extracellular matrix and enhances metastasis of breast cancer

Gajendra K. Katara, Arpita Kulshrestha, Liqun Mao, Xin Wang, Manoranjan Sahoo, Safaa Ibrahim, Sahithi Pamarthy, Kimiko Suzue, Gajendra S. Shekhawat, Alice Gilman-Sachs, Kenneth D. Beaman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix (ECM) critically impacts tumor progression and is influenced by both cancer and host tissue cells. While our understanding of cancer cell ECM remodeling is widespread, the importance of host tissue ECM, which provides initial congenial environment for primary tumor formation, is partly understood. Here, we report a novel role of epithelial cell-associated vacuolar ATPase ‘a2’ isoform (a2V) in regulating breast tissue ECM stiffness to control metastasis. Using a mammary gland-specific a2V-knockout model, we show that in the absence of a2V, breast tumors exhibit atypically soft tumor phenotype, less tumor rigidity, and necrotic tumor microenvironment. These tumors contain a decreased number of cancer cells at primary tumor site, but showed extensive metastases compared to control. Nanomechanical evaluation of normal breast tissues revealed a decrease in stiffness and collagen content in ECM of a2V-deleted breast tissues. Mechanistically, inhibition of a2V expression caused dispersed Golgi morphology with relocation of glycosyltransferase enzymes to early endosomes in mammary epithelial cells. This resulted in defective glycosylation of ECM proteins and production of compromised ECM that further influenced tumor metastasis. Clinically, in patients with cancer, low a2V expression levels in normal breast tissue correlated with lymph node metastasis. Thus, using a new knockout mouse model, we have identified a2V expression in epithelial cells as a key requirement for proper ECM formation in breast tissue and its expression levels can significantly modulate breast tumor dissemination. Evaluation of a2V expression in normal breast tissues can help in identifying patients with high risk of developing metastases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-223
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • ATP6V0a2
  • V-ATPase
  • atomic force microscopy
  • breast cancer metastasis
  • extracellular matrix stiffness
  • glycosylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Mammary epithelium-specific inactivation of V-ATPase reduces stiffness of extracellular matrix and enhances metastasis of breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this