Limitrin: a new cell adhesion receptor regulating breast cancer metastasis

2021 Honours opportunity

Supervisors: Dr Normand Pouliot and Dr Delphine Denoyer

Laboratory: Matrix Microenvironment and Metastasis

Subjects prerequisites: MED3LAB or MED3PRJ


Adhesion of cancer cells to the surrounding matrix and endothelium is critical for successful metastasis. This project seeks to characterise the expression and function of a novel cell adhesion receptor called limitrin/DICAM, in breast cancer metastasis. Limitrin has been shown to mediate cell-cell adhesion in normal epithelial and endothelial cells but its role in cancer remains unknown. We have found that the expression of limitrin is increased in breast cancer cell lines and tumours that spread (metastasise) to the brain. Preliminary results in various breast cancer models indicate that limitrin may promote cancer cell adhesion to, and migration through, the endothelium thereby facilitating colonisation of the brain.

The project will test the hypothesis that suppressing the expression of limitrin will prevent or delay the outgrowth of brain metastases in clinically relevant mouse models of breast cancer brain metastasis. The project will involve knocking out limitrin in mammary carcinoma lines using CRISPR/Cas9 technology and validation of knockout by flow cytometry, RT-PCR, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry. The effect of limitrin suppression on cellular functions will be assessed in in vitro proliferation, adhesion, migration, invasion and trans-endothelial migration assays. The relationship between limitrin and metastasis will be addressed in vivo using preclinical models of breast cancer brain metastasis.

How do I apply?
Please complete and return your Ranked Entry Project Selection Form (available in the 2021 projects bookletby 5pm Friday 6 November 2020 to

How do I find out more?
Discover more about La Trobe University’s School of Molecular Sciences/LIMS Honours opportunities
Contact the LTU Honours Coordinator, Dr Ivan Poon
Phone: 03 9479 6488