Expression of the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) is absent from many carcinomas, including hepatomas. We note an early signalling defect in the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell line HepG2 that expresses the CXCR4 receptor and binds biotin-labelled SDF, but fails to stimulate downstream signalling events after engagement with SDF. In HepG2, the SDF/CXCR4 interaction did not result in calcium influx, phosphorylation and internalization of CXCR4, nor in a rapid phosphorylation of p44/42 MAP kinase. There were no CXCR4 mutations in the second chemokine binding loop or C terminal phosphorylation and internalization domains. The downstream signalling machinery in HepG2 appears to be intact since transfection of wild-type CXCR4 restored functional responsiveness. We conclude that HepG2 is unresponsive to SDF stimulation because of a defect located after receptor binding but before the activation of the signalling cascade. A hypothetical blocking molecule could hinder receptor internalization or CXCR4 signalling.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology