Expression changes and impact of the extracellular matrix on etoposide resistant human retinoblastoma cell lines

Jacqueline Reinhard*, Natalie Wagner, Miriam M. Krämer, Marvin Jarocki, Stephanie C. Joachim, H. Burkhard Dick, Andreas Faissner, Vinodh Kakkassery

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Retinoblastoma (RB) represents the most common malignant childhood eye tumor worldwide. Several studies indicate that the extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a crucial role in tumor growth and metastasis. Moreover, recent studies indicate that the ECM composition might influence the development of resistance to chemotherapy drugs. The objective of this study was to evaluate possible expression differences in the ECM compartment of the parental human cell lines WERI-RB1 (retinoblastoma 1) and Y79 and their Etoposide resistant subclones via polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Western blot analyses were performed to analyze protein levels. To explore the influence of ECM molecules on RB cell proliferation, death, and cluster formation, WERI-RB1 and resistant WERI-ETOR cells were cultivated on Fibronectin, Laminin, Tenascin-C, and Collagen IV and analyzed via time-lapse video microscopy as well as immunocytochemistry. We revealed a significantly reduced mRNA expression of the proteoglycans Brevican, Neurocan, and Versican in resistant WERI-ETOR compared to sensitive WERI-RB1 cells. Also, for the glycoproteins α1-Laminin, Fibronectin, Tenascin-C, and Tenascin-R as well as Collagen IV, reduced expression levels were observed in WERI-ETOR. Furthermore, a downregulation was detected for the matrix metalloproteinases MMP2, MMP7, MMP9, the tissue-inhibitor of metalloproteinase TIMP2, the Integrin receptor subunits ITGA4, ITGA5 and ITGB1, and all receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase β/ζ isoforms. Downregulation of Brevican, Collagen IV, Tenascin-R, MMP2, TIMP2, and ITGA5 was also verified in Etoposide resistant Y79 cells compared to sensitive ones. Protein levels of Tenascin-C and MMP-2 were comparable in both WERI cell lines. Interestingly, Fibronectin displayed an apoptosis-inducing effect on WERI-RB1 cells, whereas an anti-apoptotic influence was observed for Tenascin-C. Conversely, proliferation of WERI-ETOR cells was enhanced on Tenascin-C, while an anti-proliferative effect was observed on Fibronectin. In WERI-ETOR, cluster formation was decreased on the substrates Collagen IV, Fibronectin, and Tenascin-C. Collectively, we noted a different ECM mRNA expression and behavior of Etoposide resistant compared to sensitive RB cells. These findings may indicate a key role of ECM components in chemotherapy resistance formation of RB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4322
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 02.06.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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