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The Dynamic Relationship of Breast Cancer Cells and Fibroblasts in Fibronectin Accumulation at Prima


In breast cancer (BC), tissue stiffening via fibronectin (FN) and collagen accumulation is associated with advanced disease progression at both the primary tumor and metastatic sites. Here, we evaluate FN production in 15 BC cell lines, representing a variety of subtypes, phenotypes, metastatic potentials, and chemotherapeutic sensitivities. We demonstrate that intracellular and soluble FN is initially lost during tumorigenic transformation but is rescued in all lines with epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity (EMP). Importantly, we establish that no BC cell line was able to independently organize a robust FN matrix. Non-transformed mammary epithelial cells were also unable to deposit FN matrices unless transglutaminase 2, a FN crosslinking enzyme, was overexpressed. Instead, BC cells manipulated the FN matrix production of fibroblasts in a phenotypic-dependent manner. In addition, varied accumulation levels were seen depending if the fibroblasts were conditioned to model paracrine signaling or endocrine signaling of the metastatic niche. In the former, fibroblasts conditioned by BC cultures with high EMP resulted in the largest FN matrix accumulation. In contrast, mesenchymal BC cells produced extracellular vesicles (EV) that resulted in the highest levels of matrix formation by conditioned fibroblasts. Overall, we demonstrate a dynamic relationship between tumor and stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment, in which the levels and fibrillarization of FN in the extracellular matrix are modulated during the particular stages of disease progression


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