Anchorage-Independent Growth

  • Anchorage independent growth refers to the ability of a cell to grow and proliferate in absence of ECM-integrin interaction.
  • Such cells do not require signals from integrin – extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions which otherwise would be required for efficient cell proliferation.
  • Most cells do not have the ability to grow in suspension except cells from haematopoietic origin. Cells which possess this ability are categorized as ‘transformed cells’ (Frisch and Ruoslahti, 1997).
  • Progression of two cell cycle phases, ‘G1-phase’ and ‘cytokinesis’ have been reported to be dependent on anchorage. Progression through S-phase and G2-phase were found independent of anchorage.
  • There are conflicting reports on the dependency of ECM-integrin interactions on mitosis progression.
  • Reverte et al., (2006) found defective spindle formation when a mutant integrin was expressed in the cells. However, Thullberg et al., 2007 could not find defects in spindle formation in suspension culture of primary human cells. Cytokinesis completion has been well accepted to be dependent on anchorage.
  • Soft agar assay is used to assess the ability of cells to grow anchorage independently.

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