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Effect of dacarbazine on CD44 in live melanoma cells as measured by atomic force microscopy-based nanoscopy

Authors Huang X, He JX, Zhang HT, Sun K, Yang J, Wang HJ, Zhang HX, Guo ZZ, Zha ZG, Zhou CR

Received 14 August 2017

Accepted for publication 10 November 2017

Published 18 December 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 8867—8886


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Xun Huang,1,2 Jiexiang He,2,3 Huan-tian Zhang,1 Kai Sun,2,3 Jie Yang,1 Huajun Wang,1 Hongxin Zhang,2,3 Zhenzhao Guo,2,3 Zhen-gang Zha,1 Changren Zhou2,3

1Department of Bone and Joint Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University, 2Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Jinan University, 3Engineering Research Center of Artificial Organs and Materials, Ministry of Education, Guangzhou, China

Abstract: CD44 ligand–receptor interactions are known to be involved in regulating cell migration and tumor cell metastasis. High expression levels of CD44 correlate with a poor prognosis of melanoma patients. In order to understand not only the mechanistic basis for dacarbazine (DTIC)-based melanoma treatment but also the reason for the poor prognosis of melanoma patients treated with DTIC, dynamic force spectroscopy was used to structurally map single native CD44-coupled receptors on the surface of melanoma cells. The effect of DTIC treatment was quantified by the dynamic binding strength and the ligand-binding free-energy landscape. The results demonstrated no obvious effect of DTIC on the unbinding force between CD44 ligand and its receptor, even when the CD44 nanodomains were reduced significantly. However, DTIC did perturb the kinetic and thermodynamic interactions of the CD44 ligand–receptor, with a resultant greater dissociation rate, lower affinity, lower binding free energy, and a narrower energy valley for the free-energy landscape. For cells treated with 25 and 75 µg/mL DTIC for 24 hours, the dissociation constant for CD44 increased 9- and 70-fold, respectively. The CD44 ligand binding free energy decreased from 9.94 for untreated cells to 8.65 and 7.39 kcal/mol for DTIC-treated cells, which indicated that the CD44 ligand–receptor complexes on DTIC-treated melanoma cells were less stable than on untreated cells. However, affinity remained in the micromolar range, rather than the millimolar range associated with nonaffinity ligands. Hence, the CD44 receptor could still be activated, resulting in intracellular signaling that could trigger a cellular response. These results demonstrate DTIC perturbs, but not completely inhibits, the binding of CD44 ligand to membrane receptors, suggesting a basis for the poor prognosis associated with DTIC treatment of melanoma. Overall, atomic force microscopy-based nanoscopic methods offer thermodynamic and kinetic insight into the effect of DTIC on the CD44 ligand-binding process.

Keywords: atomic force microscopy, tumor, dynamic force spectroscopy, kinetic and thermodynamic interactions, affinity, nanoindentation

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