Mapping local matrix remodeling induced by a migrating tumor cell using three-dimensional multiple-particle tracking.
ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal cell migration through a three-dimensional (3D) matrix typically involves major matrix remodeling. The direction of matrix deformation occurs locally in all three dimensions, which cannot be measured by current techniques. To probe the local, 3D, real-time deformation of a collagen matrix during tumor cell migration, we developed an assay whereby matrix-embedded beads are tracked simultaneously in all three directions with high resolution. To establish a proof of principle, we investigated patterns of collagen I matrix deformation near fibrosarcoma cells in the absence and presence of inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases and acto-myosin contractility. Our results indicate that migrating cells show patterns of local matrix deformation toward the cell that are symmetric in magnitude with respect to the axis of cell movement. In contrast, patterns of matrix release from the cell are asymmetric: the matrix is typically relaxed first at the back of the cell, allowing forward motion, and then at the cell's leading edge. Matrix deformation in regions of the matrix near the cell's leading edge is elastic and mostly reversible, but induces irreversible matrix rupture events near the trailing edge. Our results also indicate that matrix remodeling spatially correlates with protrusive activity. This correlation is mediated by myosin II and Rac1, and eliminated after inhibition of pericellular proteolysis or ROCK. We have developed an assay based on high-resolution 3D multiple-particle tracking that allows us to probe local matrix remodeling during mesenchymal cell migration through a 3D matrix and simultaneously monitor protrusion dynamics.
Project description:Invasive cancer cell migration is a key feature of metastatic human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), yet the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated modes of cancer cell invasion using two pancreatic cancer cell lines with differential epithelial-mesenchymal status, PANC-1 and BxPC-3, under 3D culture conditions. Multicellular tumor spheroids (TSs) were grown in a collagen matrix co-cultured with pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) using microchannel chips. PANC-1 cells showed individual migration from TSs via invadopodium formation. BxPC-3 cells showed plasticity between collective and individual migration in either mesenchymal mode, with filopodium-like protrusions, or blebby amoeboid mode. These two cell lines showed significantly different patterns of extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, with MMP-dependent degradation in a limited area of ECM around invadopodia for PANC-1 cells, or MMP-independent extensive deformation of ECM for BxPC-3 cells. Cancer cell migration out of the collagen channel significantly increased by PSCs and directional cancer cell migration was mediated by fibronectin deposited by PSCs. Our results highlight the phenotypic heterogeneity and plasticity of PDAC cell migration and ECM remodeling under 3D culture conditions. This 3D co-culture model of pancreatic cancer cells and PSCs offers a useful tool for studying cancer cell migration and ECM remodeling to identify and develop potential molecular targets and anti-cancer agents against human PDAC.
Project description:Epithelial cell migration is an essential part of embryogenesis and tissue regeneration, yet their migration is least understood. Using our three-dimensional (3D) motility analysis, migrating epithelial cells formed an atypical polarized cell shape with the nucleus leading the cell front and a contractile cell rear. Migrating epithelial cells exerted traction forces to deform both the anterior and posterior extracellular matrix toward the cell body. The cell leading edge exhibited a myosin II-dependent retrograde flow with the magnitude and direction consistent with surrounding network deformation. Interestingly, on a two-dimensional substrate, myosin IIA-deficient cells migrated faster than wild-type cells, but in a 3D gel, these myosin IIA-deficient cells were unpolarized and immobile. In contrast, the migration rates of myosin IIB-deficient cells were similar to wild-type cells. Therefore, myosin IIA, not myosin IIB, is required for 3D epithelial cell migration.
Project description:Cancer cells use different modes of migration, including integrin-dependent mesenchymal migration of elongated cells along elements of the 3D matrix as opposed to low-adhesion-, contraction-based amoeboid motility of rounded cells. We report that MDA-MB-231 human breast adenocarcinoma cells invade 3D Matrigel with a characteristic rounded morphology and with F-actin and myosin-IIa accumulating at the cell rear in a uropod-like structure. MDA-MB-231 cells display neither lamellipodia nor bleb extensions at the leading edge and do not require Arp2/3 complex activity for 3D invasion in Matrigel. Accumulation of phospho-MLC and blebbing activity were restricted to the uropod as reporters of actomyosin contractility, and velocimetric analysis of fluorescent beads embedded within the 3D matrix showed that pulling forces exerted to the matrix are restricted to the side and rear of cells. Inhibition of actomyosin contractility or ?1 integrin function interferes with uropod formation, matrix deformation, and invasion through Matrigel. These findings support a model whereby actomyosin-based uropod contractility generates traction forces on the ?1 integrin adhesion system to drive cell propulsion within the 3D matrix, with no contribution of lamellipodia extension or blebbing to movement.
Project description:The migration of cancer cells is highly regulated by the biomechanical properties of their local microenvironment. Using 3D scaffolds of simple composition, several aspects of cancer cell mechanosensing (signal transduction, EMC remodeling, traction forces) have been separately analyzed in the context of cell migration. However, a combined study of these factors in 3D scaffolds that more closely resemble the complex microenvironment of the cancer ECM is still missing. Here, we present a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of the role of cell-ECM interactions in cancer cell migration within a highly physiological environment consisting of mixed Matrigel-collagen hydrogel scaffolds of increasing complexity that mimic the tumor microenvironment at the leading edge of cancer invasion. We quantitatively show that the presence of Matrigel increases hydrogel stiffness, which promotes ?1 integrin expression and metalloproteinase activity in H1299 lung cancer cells. Then, we show that ECM remodeling activity causes matrix alignment and compaction that favors higher tractions exerted by the cells. However, these traction forces do not linearly translate into increased motility due to a biphasic role of cell adhesions in cell migration: at low concentration Matrigel promotes migration-effective tractions exerted through a high number of small sized focal adhesions. However, at high Matrigel concentration, traction forces are exerted through fewer, but larger focal adhesions that favor attachment yielding lower cell motility.
Project description:Collective migration of epithelial cells underlies diverse tissue-remodeling events, but the mechanisms that coordinate individual cell migratory behaviors for collective movement are largely unknown. Studying the Drosophila follicular epithelium, we show that the cadherin Fat2 and the receptor tyrosine phosphatase Lar function in a planar signaling system that coordinates leading and trailing edge dynamics between neighboring cells. Fat2 signals from each cell's trailing edge to induce leading edge protrusions in the cell behind, in part by stabilizing Lar's localization in these cells. Conversely, Lar signals from each cell's leading edge to stimulate trailing edge retraction in the cell ahead. Fat2/Lar signaling is similar to planar cell polarity signaling in terms of sub-cellular protein localization; however, Fat2/Lar signaling mediates short-range communication between neighboring cells instead of transmitting long-range information across a tissue. This work defines a key mechanism promoting epithelial migration and establishes a different paradigm for planar cell-cell signaling.
Project description:Collective cell migration drives tissue remodeling during development, wound repair, and metastatic invasion. The physical mechanisms by which cells move cohesively through dense three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix (ECM) remain incompletely understood. Here, we show directly that migration of multicellular cohorts through collagenous matrices occurs via a dynamic pulling mechanism, the nature of which had only been inferred previously in 3D. Tensile forces increase at the invasive front of cohorts, serving a physical, propelling role as well as a regulatory one by conditioning the cells and matrix for further extension. These forces elicit mechanosensitive signaling within the leading edge and align the ECM, creating microtracks conducive to further migration. Moreover, cell movements are highly correlated and in phase with ECM deformations. Migrating cohorts use spatially localized, long-range forces and consequent matrix alignment to navigate through the ECM. These results suggest biophysical forces are critical for 3D collective migration.
Project description:Collective cell behaviors in migration and force generation were studied at the mesoscopic-level using cells grown in a 3D extracellular matrix (ECM) simulating tissues. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was applied to investigate dynamic cell mechanics at this level. MDCK, NBT2, and MEF cells were embedded in 3D ECM, forming clusters that then migrated and generated forces affecting the ECM. The cells demonstrated MRI contrast due to iron accumulation in the clusters. Timelapse-MRI enabled the measurement of dynamic stress fields generated by the cells, as well as simultaneous monitoring of the cell distribution and ECM deformation/remodeling. We found cell clusters embedded in the 3D ECM can exert translational forces to pull and push, as well as torque, their surroundings. We also observed that the sum of forces generated by multiple cell clusters may result in macroscopic deformation. In summary, MRI can be used to image cell-ECM interactions mesoscopically.
Project description:The mechanical properties of a cell's microenvironment influence many aspects of cellular behavior, including cell migration. Durotaxis, the migration toward increasing matrix stiffness, has been implicated in processes ranging from development to cancer. During durotaxis, mechanical stimulation by matrix rigidity leads to directed migration. Studies suggest that cells sense mechanical stimuli, or mechanosense, through the acto-myosin cytoskeleton at focal adhesions (FAs); however, FA actin cytoskeletal remodeling and its role in mechanosensing are not fully understood. Here, we show that the Ena/VASP family member, Ena/VASP-like (EVL), polymerizes actin at FAs, which promotes cell-matrix adhesion and mechanosensing. Importantly, we show that EVL regulates mechanically directed motility, and that suppression of EVL expression impedes 3D durotactic invasion. We propose a model in which EVL-mediated actin polymerization at FAs promotes mechanosensing and durotaxis by maturing, and thus reinforcing, FAs. These findings establish dynamic FA actin polymerization as a central aspect of mechanosensing and identify EVL as a crucial regulator of this process.
Project description:Cell migration through a three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix (ECM) underlies important physiological phenomena and is based on a variety of mechanical strategies depending on the cell type and the properties of the ECM. By using computer simulations of the cell's mid-plane, we investigate two such migration mechanisms-'push-pull' (forming a finger-like protrusion, adhering to an ECM node, and pulling the cell body forward) and 'rear-squeezing' (pushing the cell body through the ECM by contracting the cell cortex and ECM at the cell rear). We present a computational model that accounts for both elastic deformation and forces of the ECM, an active cell cortex and nucleus, and for hydrodynamic forces and flow of the extracellular fluid, cytoplasm, and nucleoplasm. We find that relations between three mechanical parameters-the cortex's contractile force, nuclear elasticity, and ECM rigidity-determine the effectiveness of cell migration through the dense ECM. The cell can migrate persistently even if its cortical contraction cannot deform a near-rigid ECM, but then the contraction of the cortex has to be able to sufficiently deform the nucleus. The cell can also migrate even if it fails to deform a stiff nucleus, but then it has to be able to sufficiently deform the ECM. Simulation results show that nuclear stiffness limits the cell migration more than the ECM rigidity. Simulations show the rear-squeezing mechanism of motility results in more robust migration with larger cell displacements than those with the push-pull mechanism over a range of parameter values. Additionally, results show that the rear-squeezing mechanism is aided by hydrodynamics through a pressure gradient.
Project description:In vivo, cells migrate on complex three-dimensional (3D) fibrous matrices, which has made investigation of the key molecular and physical mechanisms that drive cell migration difficult. Using reductionist approaches based on 3D electrospun fibers, we report for various cell types that single-cell migration along fibronectin-coated nanofibers is associated with lateral actin-based waves. These cyclical waves have a fin-like shape and propagate up to several hundred micrometers from the cell body, extending the leading edge and promoting highly persistent directional movement. Cells generate these waves through balanced activation of the Rac1/N-WASP/Arp2/3 and Rho/formins pathways. The waves originate from one major adhesion site at leading end of the cell body, which is linked through actomyosin contractility to another site at the back of the cell, allowing force generation, matrix deformation and cell translocation. By combining experimental and modeling data, we demonstrate that cell migration in a fibrous environment requires the formation and propagation of dynamic, actin based fin-like protrusions.