Calcium transporters play vital roles in the transport of calcium ions across cells of the mammary gland and the intestine. One such transporter is the plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase (PMCA), of which there are 4 different genes (PMCA1-4). In these studies we investigated the hypothesis that the expression of PMCA is altered in HT-29 colon cancer cells during sodium butyrate and post-confluence mediated differentiation. We also investigated if PMCA expression is altered in breast cancer cell lines in an isofrom specific manner. Our results indicate isoform specific changes in PMCA mRNA and protein levels in HT-29 cells during differentiation, using real time RT-PCR and western blotting, respectively. We also observed pronounced alterations in the mRNA levels of the PMCA isoform linked to lactation (PMCA2) in a bank of breast cancer cell lines compared to normal cell lines. Changes in other isoforms were less pronounced. To further study the role of specific calcium transporters we have optimised conditions for the reverse transfection of MCF-7 breast cancer cells using NeoFX (Ambion). Using real time RT-PCR we have confirmed gene knockdown for specific isoforms and have studied the time course of knockdown over 96 hours. We see approximately 68 % inhibition at 24 hours increasing to 84 % 96 hours post-reverse transfection. Our studies suggest that the expression of specific calcium transporter isoforms can be significantly altered in cancer cell lines and that isoform specific inhibition of calcium transporters is possible using reverse transfection of siRNA.

[Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, Volume 47, 2006]