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Apolar and polar transitions drive the conversion between amoeboid and mesenchymal shapes in melanoma cells.


ABSTRACT: Melanoma cells can adopt two functionally distinct forms, amoeboid and mesenchymal, which facilitates their ability to invade and colonize diverse environments during the metastatic process. Using quantitative imaging of single living tumor cells invading three-dimensional collagen matrices, in tandem with unsupervised computational analysis, we found that melanoma cells can switch between amoeboid and mesenchymal forms via two different routes in shape space--an apolar and polar route. We show that whereas particular Rho-family GTPases are required for the morphogenesis of amoeboid and mesenchymal forms, others are required for transitions via the apolar or polar route and not amoeboid or mesenchymal morphogenesis per se. Altering the transition rates between particular routes by depleting Rho-family GTPases can change the morphological heterogeneity of cell populations. The apolar and polar routes may have evolved in order to facilitate conversion between amoeboid and mesenchymal forms, as cells are either searching for, or attracted to, particular migratory cues, respectively.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4710245 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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