PKN1 controls the aggregation, spheroid formation, and viability of mouse embryonic fibroblasts in suspension culture

Mona Mehruba, Salman Mahmud Siddique, Hideyuki Mukai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The role of protein kinase N1 (PKN1) in cell aggregation and spheroid formation was investigated using mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) deficient in kinase activity caused by a point mutation (T778A) in the activation loop. Wild type (WT) MEFs formed cell aggregates within a few hours in suspension cultures placed in poly-2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate (poly-HEMA) coated flat-bottom dishes. By contrast, PKN1[T778A] (PKN1 T778A/T778A homozygous knock-in) MEFs showed significantly delayed aggregate formation and higher susceptibility to cell death. Video analysis of suspension cultures revealed decreased cell motility and lesser frequency of cell-cell contact in PKN1[T778A] MEFs compared to that in WT MEFs. Aggregate formation of PKN1[T778A] MEFs was compensated by shaking the cell suspension. When cultured in U-shaped ultra-low attachment well plates, initially larger-sized and loosely packed aggregates of WT MEFs underwent compaction resulting in a single round spheroid. On the other hand, image-based quantitative analysis of PKN1[T778A] MEFs revealed irregular compaction with decreased roundness, solidity, and sphericity within 24 h. Flow cytometry of PKN1[T778A] MEFs revealed decreased surface-expression of N-cadherin and integrins α5 and αV. These results suggest that kinase activity of PKN1 controls cell aggregation and spheroid compaction in MEF suspension culture, possibly by regulating the cell migration and cell-surface expression of N-cadherin and integrins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-404
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 5 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Anoikis
  • Cadherin
  • Fibroblast
  • Integrin
  • Protein kinase
  • Spheroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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