Three clonal subpopulations of DLKP, a poorly differentiated squamous lung carcinoma cell line, display striking differences in ability to survive in suspension (anoikis resistance). DLKP-SQ is anoikis resistant (7.5% anoikis at 24 h). In contrast, DLKP-M and DLKP-I are sensitive to anoikis (49.2% and 42.6% respectively). DLKP-I shows increased apoptosis consistently over all time points tested while DLKP-M appear to slow down metabolically and perhaps delays onset of anoikis by undergoing autophagy. Expression microarray analysis identified pronounced differential expression of Olfactomedin 3 (OLFM3) between the clones. High expression of OLFM3 was confirmed at the RNA level by qRT-PCR in DLKP-SQ and at the protein level by Western blotting (within the cell and secreted). Little or no OLFM3 was detected in the other two clones (DLKP-M and DLKP-I). Following siRNA knockdown of OLFM3 in DLKP-SQ, anoikis was increased 2.8-fold to 21% which was intermediate between the anoikis levels in DLKP-SQ and DLKP-M or DLKP-I. This knockdown correlated with increased apoptosis in suspension but not in attached culture conditions. Addition of recombinant OLFM3 reduced anoikis in DLKP-I. This is the first instance of OLFM3 being linked with anoikis resistance in a human cancer cell line.
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