Hyaluronan synthase-3 is upregulated in metastatic colon carcinoma cells and manipulation of expression alters matrix retention and cellular growth

Kelli M. Bullard, Hyeong Rok Kim, Marie A. Wheeler, Christopher M. Wilson, Cheryl L. Neudauer, Melanie A. Simpson, James B. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


HA is a glycosaminoglycan that is synthesized on the inner surface of the plasma membrane and secreted into the pericellular matrix. HA and its biosynthetic enzymes (HAS1, HAS2 and HAS3) are thought to participate in tumor growth and cancer progression. In our study, colon carcinoma cells isolated from a lymph node metastasis (SW620) produced more pericellular HA and expressed higher levels of HAS3 mRNA compared to cells isolated from a primary colon carcinoma (SW480). To assess functionality, HAS3 expression in SW620 cells was inhibited by transfection with an asHAS3 construct. Decreased HA secretion and cell-surface retention by asHAS3 transfectants were confirmed using competitive binding and particle exclusion assays. Anchorage-independent growth, a correlate of tumor growth in vivo, was assessed by colony formation in soft agar. SW620 cells stably transfected with asHAS3 demonstrated significant growth inhibition, as evidenced by fewer colonies and smaller colony area than either SW620 cells or cells transfected with vector alone. Addition of exogenous HA restored growth in asHAS3 transfectants. Thus, we demonstrate that pericellular HA secretion and retention and HAS3 expression are increased in metastatic colon carcinoma cells relative to cells derived from a primary tumor. Inhibition of HAS3 expression in these cells decreased the pericellular HA matrix and inhibited anchorage-independent growth. These data suggest that HA and HAS3 function in the growth and progression of colon carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-746
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 10 2003



  • Colon carcinoma
  • Hyaluronan
  • Hyaluronan synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this