The receptor for urokinase-plasminogen activator (uPAR) controls plasticity of cancer cell movement in mesenchymal and amoeboid migration style.
ABSTRACT: The receptor for the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPAR) is up-regulated in malignant tumors. Historically the function of uPAR in cancer cell invasion is strictly related to its property to promote uPA-dependent proteolysis of extracellular matrix and to open a path to malignant cells. These features are typical of mesenchymal motility. Here we show that the full-length form of uPAR is required when prostate and melanoma cancer cells convert their migration style from the "path generating" mesenchymal to the "path finding" amoeboid one, thus conferring a plasticity to tumor cell invasiveness across three-dimensional matrices. Indeed, in response to a protease inhibitors-rich milieu, prostate and melanoma cells activated an amoeboid invasion program connoted by retraction of cell protrusions, RhoA-mediated rounding of the cell body, formation of a cortical ring of actin and a reduction of Rac-1 activation. While the mesenchymal movement was reduced upon silencing of uPAR expression, the amoeboid one was almost completely abolished, in parallel with a deregulation of small Rho-GTPases activity. In melanoma and prostate cancer cells we have shown uPAR colocalization with ?1/?3 integrins and actin cytoskeleton, as well integrins-actin co-localization under both mesenchymal and amoeboid conditions. Such co-localizations were lost upon treatment of cells with a peptide that inhibits uPAR-integrin interactions. Similarly to uPAR silencing, the peptide reduced mesenchymal invasion and almost abolished the amoeboid one. These results indicate that full-length uPAR bridges the mesenchymal and amoeboid style of movement by an inward-oriented activity based on its property to promote integrin-actin interactions and the following cytoskeleton assembly.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Controlling vascular growth is a challenging aim for the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis. The amoeboid and mesenchymal types of invasiveness are two modes of migration interchangeable in cancer cells: the Rac-dependent mesenchymal migration requires the activity of proteases; the Rho-ROCK-dependent amoeboid motility is protease-independent and has never been described in endothelial cells. METHODS:A cocktail of physiologic inhibitors (Ph-C) of serine-proteases, metallo-proteases and cysteine-proteases, mimicking the physiological environment that cells encounter during their migration within the angiogenesis sites was used to induce amoeboid style migration of Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) and mature endothelial cells (ECs). To evaluate the mesenchymal-ameboid transition RhoA and Rac1 activation assays were performed along with immunofluorescence analysis of proteins involved in cytoskeleton organization. Cell invasion was studied in Boyden chambers and Matrigel plug assay for the in vivo angiogenesis. RESULTS:In the present study we showed in both ECFCs and ECs, a decrease of activated Rac1 and an increase of activated RhoA upon shifting of cells to the amoeboid conditions. In presence of Ph-C inhibitors both cell lines acquired a round morphology and Matrigel invasion was greatly enhanced with respect to that observed in the absence of protease inhibition. We also observed that the urokinase-plasminogen-activator (uPAR) receptor silencing and uPAR-integrin uncoupling with the M25 peptide abolished both mesenchymal and amoeboid angiogenesis of ECFCs and ECs in vitro and in vivo, indicating a role of the uPAR-integrin-actin axis in the regulation of amoeboid angiogenesis. Furthermore, under amoeboid conditions endothelial cells seem to be indifferent to VEGF stimulation, which induces an amoeboid signaling pattern also in mesenchymal conditions. CONCLUSION:Here we first provide a data set disclosing that endothelial cells can move and differentiate into vascular structures in vitro and in vivo also in the absence of proteases activity, performing a new type of neovascularization: the "amoeboid angiogenesis". uPAR is indispensable for ECs and ECFCs to perform an efficient amoeboid angiogenesis. Therefore, uPAR silencing or the block of its integrin-interaction, together with standard treatment against VEGF, could be a possible solution for angiogenesis inhibition.
Project description:Rounded-amoeboid cancer cells use actomyosin contractility driven by Rho-ROCK and JAK-STAT3 to migrate efficiently. It has been suggested that rounded-amoeboid cancer cells do not require matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) to invade. Here we compare MMP levels in rounded-amoeboid and elongated-mesenchymal melanoma cells. Surprisingly, we find that rounded-amoeboid melanoma cells secrete higher levels of several MMPs, including collagenase MMP-13 and gelatinase MMP-9. As a result, rounded-amoeboid melanoma cells degrade collagen I more efficiently than elongated-mesenchymal cells. Furthermore, using a non-catalytic mechanism, MMP-9 promotes rounded-amoeboid 3D migration through regulation of actomyosin contractility via CD44 receptor. MMP-9 is upregulated in a panel of rounded-amoeboid compared with elongated-mesenchymal melanoma cell lines and its levels are controlled by ROCK-JAK-STAT3 signalling. MMP-9 expression increases during melanoma progression and it is particularly prominent in the invasive fronts of lesions, correlating with cell roundness. Therefore, rounded-amoeboid cells use both catalytic and non-catalytic activities of MMPs for invasion.
Project description:The local invasion of tumor cells into the surrounding tissue is the first and most critical step of the metastatic cascade. Cells can invade either collectively, or individually. Individual cancer cell invasion can occur in the mesenchymal or amoeboid mode, which are mutually interchangeable. This plasticity of individual cancer cell invasiveness may represent an escape mechanism for invading cancer cells from anti-metastatic treatment.To identify new signaling proteins involved in the plasticity of cancer cell invasiveness, we performed proteomic analysis of the amoeboid to mesenchymal transition with A375m2 melanoma cells in a 3D Matrigel matrix.In this screen we identified PKC? as an important protein for the maintenance of amoeboid morphology. We found that the activation of PKC? resulted in the mesenchymal-amoeboid transition of mesenchymal K2 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Consistently, PKC? inhibition led to the amoeboid-mesenchymal transition of amoeboid A375m2 cells. Next, we showed that PKC? inhibition resulted in a considerable decrease in the invading abilities of all analyzed cancer cell lines.Our results suggest that PKC? is an important protein for maintenance of the amoeboid morphology of cancer cells, and that downregulation of PKC? results in the amoeboid to mesenchymal transition. Our data also suggest that PKC? is important for both mesenchymal and amoeboid invasiveness, making it an attractive target for anti-metastatic therapies.
Project description:Fast amoeboid migration is critical for developmental processes and can be hijacked by cancer cells to enhance metastatic dissemination. This migratory behavior is tightly controlled by high levels of actomyosin contractility, but how it is coupled to other cytoskeletal components is poorly understood. Septins are increasingly recognized as novel cytoskeletal components, but details on their regulation and contribution to migration are lacking. Here, we show that the septin regulator Cdc42EP5 is consistently required for amoeboid melanoma cells to invade and migrate into collagen-rich matrices and locally invade and disseminate in vivo. Cdc42EP5 associates with actin structures, leading to increased actomyosin contractility and amoeboid migration. Cdc42EP5 affects these functions through SEPT9-dependent F-actin cross-linking, which enables the generation of F-actin bundles required for the sustained stabilization of highly contractile actomyosin structures. This study provides evidence that Cdc42EP5 is a regulator of cancer cell motility that coordinates actin and septin networks and describes a unique role for SEPT9 in melanoma invasion and metastasis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Mesenchymal and amoeboid movements are two important mechanisms adopted by cancer cells to invade the surrounding environment. Mesenchymal movement depends on extracellular matrix protease activity, amoeboid movement on the RhoA-dependent kinase ROCK. Cancer cells can switch from one mechanism to the other in response to different stimuli, limiting the efficacy of antimetastatic therapies. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We investigated the acquisition and molecular regulation of the invasion capacity of neoplastically transformed human fibroblasts, which were able to induce sarcomas and metastases when injected into immunocompromised mice. We found that neoplastic transformation was associated with a change in cell morphology (from fibroblastic to polygonal), a reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, a decrease in the expression of several matrix metalloproteases and increases in cell motility and invasiveness. In a three-dimensional environment, sarcomagenic cells showed a spherical morphology with cortical actin rings, suggesting a switch from mesenchymal to amoeboid movement. Accordingly, cell invasion decreased after treatment with the ROCK inhibitor Y27632, but not with the matrix protease inhibitor Ro 28-2653. The increased invasiveness of tumorigenic cells was associated with reduced expression of Rnd3 (also known as RhoE), a cellular inhibitor of ROCK. Indeed, ectopic Rnd3 expression reduced their invasive ability in vitro and their metastatic potential in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that, during neoplastic transformation, cells of mesenchymal origin can switch from a mesenchymal mode of movement to an amoeboid one. In addition, they point to Rnd3 as a possible regulator of mesenchymal tumor cell invasion and to ROCK as a potential therapeutic target for sarcomas.
Project description:The invasive behaviour of cancer cells underlies metastatic dissemination; however, due to the large plasticity of invasion modes, it is challenging to target. It is now widely accepted that various secreted cytokines modulate the tumour microenvironment and pro-inflammatory signalling can promote tumour progression. Here, we report that cells after mesenchymal-amoeboid transition show the increased expression of genes associated with the type I interferon response. Moreover, the sustained activation of type I interferon signalling in response to IFN? mediated by the Stat1/Stat2/IRF9 complex enhances the round amoeboid phenotype in melanoma cells, whereas its downregulation by various approaches promotes the mesenchymal invasive phenotype. Overall, we demonstrate that interferon signalling is associated with the amoeboid phenotype of cancer cells and suggest a novel role of IFN? in promoting cancer invasion plasticity, aside from its known role as a tumour suppressor.
Project description:The urokinase receptor (uPAR) is upregulated upon tumor cell invasion and correlates with poor lung cancer survival. Although a cis-interaction with integrins has been ascribed to uPAR, whether this interaction alone is critical to urokinase (uPA)- and uPAR-dependent signaling and tumor promotion is unclear. Here we report the functional consequences of point mutations of uPAR (H249A-D262A) that eliminate beta1 integrin interactions but maintain uPA binding, vitronectin attachment and association with alphaV integrins, caveolin and epidermal growth factor receptor. Disruption of uPAR interactions with beta1 integrins recapitulated previously reported findings with beta1-integrin-derived peptides that attenuated matrix-dependent ERK activation, MMP expression and in vitro migration by human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. The uPAR mutant cells acquired enhanced capacity to adhere to vitronectin via uPAR-alphaVbeta5-integrin, rather than through the uPAR-alpha3beta1-integrin complex and they were unable to initiate uPA signaling to activate ERK, Akt or Stat1. In an orthotopic lung cancer model, uPAR mutant cells exhibited reduced tumor size compared with cells expressing wild-type uPAR. Taken together, the results indicate that uPAR-beta1-integrin interactions are essential to signals induced by integrin matrix ligands or uPA that support lung cancer cell invasion in vitro and progression in vivo.
Project description:Cell migration underlies metastatic dissemination of cancer cells, and fast "amoeboid" migration in the invasive fronts of tumors is controlled by high levels of actomyosin contractility. How amoeboid migration is regulated by extracellular signals and sustained over time by transcriptional changes is not fully understood. Transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) is well known to promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and contribute to metastasis, but melanocytes are neural crest derivatives that have undergone EMT during embryonic development. Surprisingly, we find that in melanoma, TGF-? promotes amoeboid features such as cell rounding, membrane blebbing, high levels of contractility, and increased invasion. Using genome-wide transcriptomics, we find that amoeboid melanoma cells are enriched in a TGF-?-driven signature. We observe that downstream of TGF-?, SMAD2 and its adaptor CITED1 control amoeboid behavior by regulating the expression of key genes that activate contractile forces. Moreover, CITED1 is highly upregulated during melanoma progression, and its high expression is associated with poor prognosis. CITED1 is coupled to a contractile-rounded, amoeboid phenotype in a panel of 16 melanoma cell lines, in mouse melanoma xenografts, and in 47 human melanoma patients. Its expression is also enriched in the invasive fronts of lesions. Functionally, we show how the TGF-?-SMAD2-CITED1 axis promotes different steps associated with progression: melanoma detachment from keratinocytes, 2D and 3D migration, attachment to endothelial cells, and in vivo lung metastatic initial colonization and outgrowth. We propose a novel mechanism by which TGF-?-induced transcription sustains actomyosin force in melanoma cells and thereby promotes melanoma progression independently of EMT.
Project description:A functional role of microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) in neoplasia and metastasis is becoming clear, and the miR-200 family has received much attention for potentially regulating tumor progression. The miRNAs of this family have been shown to suppress epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and their down-regulation in some tumors promotes invasion and metastasis. Interestingly, while miR-200 is down-regulated in some cancers, it is up-regulated in others.We show that levels of miR-200 are increased in melanoma cell lines compared to normal melanocytes and that miR-200 family members play a role in determining modes of tumor cell migration. Individual tumor cells can invade in either elongated, "mesenchymal-type" or rounded, "amoeboid-like" modes and these two modes of invasion are inter-convertible . In melanoma cell lines, expression of miR-200 members does not suppress invasion but rather leads to a switch between modes of invasion. MicroRNA-200c results in a higher proportion of cells adopting the rounded, amoeboid-like mode of invasion, while miR-200a results in a protrusion-associated elongated mode of invasion. Functional target identification studies suggest that the morphological effects of miR-200c may be mediated by reduced expression of MARCKS, which has been linked to formation of cell protrusions. In contrast miR-200a reduces actomyosin contractility, a feature of rounded morphology.Overall our findings call into question the general role of miR-200 in suppressing invasion and metastasis, and highlight novel distinguishing characteristics of individual miR-200 family members.