Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted, calcium-binding phosphoprotein that frequently has been associated with the transformed phenotype. To clarify the function of OPN in tumor cells, we designed experiments to: (a) express antisense OPN RNA in murine PAP2 cells (metastatic, ras-transformed NIH 3T3 cells) and (b) examine the effects of antisense OPN expression on the tumorigenic and metastatic properties of the cells. PAP2 cells were transfected with pNMH-asOPN, an inducible, mammalian expression vector that can generate antisense OPN RNA complementary to the OPN mRNA. Two clones have been identified that expressed antisense OPN RNA in vitro. While reduced OPN protein secretion was not detected when the cells were grown in vitro, the in vivo expression of antisense OPN RNA was associated with reduced tumorigenicity. Tumors that did arise, with greatly extended lag time, had lost expression of antisense OPN RNA in vivo, suggesting that antisense OPN RNA expression was associated with reduced tumorigenicity of these cells.

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This work was supported by a grant (to A. F. C.) from the National Cancer Institute of Canada. A. F. C. is a Career Scientist of the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation.

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