Repository logo

A study of proteinases of invasive cells using cryoultramicrotomy and immunogold labelling.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study forms part of an investigation into the possible relevance of the lysosomal proteinases, cathepsins B, H, Land D, in cancer cell invasion. In this study, the main technique adopted was the Tokuyasu "cryo" method, in which the tissues were fixed, frozen and sectioned and labelled using the relevant antibodies, which were detected with protein A gold probes. In order to implement the Tokuyasu technique, it was necessary to rebuild a knife maker, for the production of adequately sharp glass knives, and to modify a sputter-coater into a glow-discharger, for rendering carbon-coated grids hydrophilic, to promote adhesion of hydrated sections. This study was directed towards human tissues and peptide antibodies were investigated as a means of avoiding isolation of proteins from scarce human tissue, and as a means of obtaining antibodies that will target specific regions of proteins of interest. Peptide antibodies were also considered promising for studies of proteinase trafficking and as immunoinhibiting agents, potentially useful in cancer therapy. Various prediction programmes were investigated for their effectiveness in predicting whether a given peptide sequence will elicit antibodies that will react with the native protein. Successful prediction would increase the success rate of peptide antibody production and thus lower the cost. Leucocytes were studied as a model of an invasive cell, since they are more readily available than tumour cells and serve the purpose during the development of methods. In the course of these studies, an optimal protocol for the fixation of PMNs was developed, involving lateral fixation of cut sections, that should be useful for future studies on these cells. Elastase and cathepsins D and G were found on the surface of activated PMNs and could thus play a role in the invasive properties of these cells. Studies on MCF-10A "normal" breast epithelial cells and their ras-transformed Neo-T counterparts revealed that upon transformation, lysosomes shift from a perinuclear position, to a more peripheral position. None of the cathepsins studied was found on the cell surface of either the normal or ras-transfected cells, suggesting that surface distribution of these enzymes may not be a requirement for invasiveness. These studies suggest that immunocytochemical investigation of cells, in the process of invading through a barrier membrane, might be profitable in elucidating the role of proteinases in invasive cancer.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1993.


Cancer--Immunological aspects--Technique., Immunocytochemistry--Technique., Immunogold labelling., Proteinase., Cathepsin B., Neutrophils., Cryotomy., Clinical enzymology., Theses--Biochemistry.