Cell Aggregation Assays

  • Delphine Debruyne
  • Tom Boterberg
  • Marc E. Bracke
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1070)


Invasion of carcinoma cells is the result of a disequilibrium between invasion promoter and invasion suppressor gene products (Mareel and Van Roy, Anticancer Res 6:419–435, 1986). The E-cadherin/catenin complex is the most potent invasion suppressor at the cell membrane of epithelioid cells (Duffy et al., J Pathol 214:283–293, 2008). This complex consists of E-cadherin, a transmembrane glycoprotein of 120 kDa, which is linked to the actin cytoskeleton via the catenins (Behrens et al., J Cell Biol 108:2435–2447, 1989). Downregulation of the complex is a common feature in invasive carcinoma cells, and has been recognized at several levels, ranging from genomic mutations to functional deficiencies of an apparently intact complex (Ozawa et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 87:4246–4250, 1990). Cell aggregation assays have been set up to test the functionality of the complex in epithelioid tumor cells. Functional integrity of the complex is a prerequisite for cell–cell adhesion between epithelial cells, and measuring cell aggregation in vitro has thus become another elegant tool to study differences between invasive and noninvasive cell types.

Key words

E-cadherin/catenin complex E-cadherin Catenin Cell aggregation assay Cell–cell adhesion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delphine Debruyne
    • 1
  • Tom Boterberg
    • 2
  • Marc E. Bracke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine, Laboratory of Experimental Cancer ResearchGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research, Department of Radiotherapy and Nuclear MedicineGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium

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