AbstractDesmosomes are key structures in cell-cell adhesion. In this study we examined the effect of n-6 essential fatty acids on the expression of desmoglein (Dsg), desmosomal cadherin and the formation of desmosomes in E-cadherin negative human breast, colon and lung cancer cells and melanoma cells. Electron microscopy revealed that cells cultured with gamma linolenic acid (GLA) showed increased cell-cell adhesion together with an increase in the formation of desmoglein-containing desmosomes. Western blotting studies of cellular proteins demonstrated that, following culture with fatty acids, Dsg expression was modified, with the greatest increase seen after GLA treatment. Other fatty acids increased Dsg expression, but to a lesser extent. It is concluded that GLA regulates desmosome-mediated cell-cell adhesion in human cancer cells, particularly in cells without E-cadherin.
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