Inhibition of Akt activity and calcium channel function coordinately drive cell-cell fusion in the BeWO choriocarcinoma placental cell line.
Vatish M., Tesfa L., Grammatopoulos D., Yamada E., Bastie CC., Pessin JE.
To establish a simple and quantitative live cell fusion assay for placental syncytialization, we generated stable GFP and dsRed expressing fusogenic BeWo cell lines. Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorting was shown to provide a quantitative determination of forskolin (cAMP-mediated) fusion in a time and concentration dependent manner consistent with the increased secretion of beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (β-HCG) and appearance of multi-nucleated cells. Analyses of the fusion process demonstrated that in addition to increased cAMP levels, simultaneous reduction of intracellular calcium and inhibition of Type 1 phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling also resulted in cell fusion. Although individual blockade of calcium channel function or PI3K/Akt signaling was without effect, the combination with forskolin resulted in a potentiation of cell fusion. These data demonstrate syncytialization is a complex process that depends upon the regulation of distinct signaling inputs that function in concert with each other.