The extracellular milieu is comprised in part by products of cellular secretion and cell surface shedding. The presence of such molecules of the sheddome and secretome in the context of the extracellular milieu may have important clinical implications. In cancer they have been hypothesized to play a role in tumor growth and metastasis. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the sheddome/secretome from two cell lines could be correlated with their potential for tumor development. Two epithelial cell lines, HaCaT and SCC-9, were chosen based on their differing abilities to form tumors in animal models of tumorigenesis. These cell lines when stimulated with phorbol-ester (PMA) showed different characteristics as assessed by cell migration, adhesion and higher gelatinase activity. Proteomic analysis of the media from these treated cells identified interesting, functionally relevant differences in their sheddome/secretome. Among the shed proteins, soluble syndecan-1 was found only in media from stimulated tumorigenic cells (SCC-9) and its fragments were observed in higher amount in the stimulated tumorigenic cells than stimulated non-tumorigenic cells (HaCaT). The increase in soluble syndecan-1 was associated with a decrease in membrane-bound syndecan-1 of SCC-9 cells after PMA stimuli. To support a functional role for soluble syndecan-1 fragments we demonstrated that the synthetic syndecan-1 peptide was able to induce cell migration in both cell lines. Taken together, these results suggested that PMA stimulation alters the sheddome/secretome of the tumorigenic cell line SCC-9 and one such component, the syndecan-1 peptide identified in this study, was revealed to promote migration in these epithelial cell lines.
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