Amoeboid-mesenchymal migration plasticity promotes invasion only in complex heterogeneous microenvironments.
ABSTRACT: During tissue invasion individual tumor cells exhibit two interconvertible migration modes, namely mesenchymal and amoeboid migration. The cellular microenvironment triggers the switch between both modes, thereby allowing adaptation to dynamic conditions. It is, however, unclear if this amoeboid-mesenchymal migration plasticity contributes to a more effective tumor invasion. We address this question with a mathematical model, where the amoeboid-mesenchymal migration plasticity is regulated in response to local extracellular matrix resistance. Our numerical analysis reveals that extracellular matrix structure and presence of a chemotactic gradient are key determinants of the model behavior. Only in complex microenvironments, if the extracellular matrix is highly heterogeneous and a chemotactic gradient directs migration, the amoeboid-mesenchymal migration plasticity allows a more widespread invasion compared to the non-switching amoeboid and mesenchymal modes. Importantly, these specific conditions are characteristic for in vivo tumor invasion. Thus, our study suggests that in vitro systems aiming at unraveling the underlying molecular mechanisms of tumor invasion should take into account the complexity of the microenvironment by considering the combined effects of structural heterogeneities and chemical gradients on cell migration.
Project description:Cancer cell migration and invasion are integral components of metastatic disease, which is the major cause of death in cancer patients. Cancer cells can disseminate and migrate via several alternative mechanisms including amoeboid cell migration, mesenchymal cell migration, and collective cell migration. These diverse movement strategies display certain specific and distinct hallmarks in cell-cell junctions, actin cytoskeleton, matrix adhesion, and protease activity. During tumor progression, cells pass through complex microenvironments and adapt their migration strategies by reversible mesenchymal-amoeboid and individual-collective transitions. This plasticity in motility patterns enables cancer cells disseminate further and thus limit the efficiency of anti-metastasis therapies. In this review, we discuss the modes and mechanisms of cancer cell migration and focus on the plasticity of tumor cell movement as well as potential emerging therapeutic options for reducing cancer cell invasion.
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:Tumor cells exhibit two interconvertible modes of cell motility referred to as mesenchymal and amoeboid migration. Mesenchymal mode is characterized by elongated morphology that requires high GTPase Rac activation, whereas amoeboid mode is dependent on actomyosin contractility induced by Rho/Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) signaling. While elongated morphology is driven by Rac-induced protrusion at the leading edge, how Rho/ROCK signaling controls amoeboid movement is not well understood. We identified FilGAP, a Rac GTPase-activating protein (GAP), as a mediator of Rho/ROCK-dependent amoeboid movement of carcinoma cells. We show that depletion of endogenous FilGAP in carcinoma cells induced highly elongated mesenchymal morphology. Conversely, forced expression of FilGAP induced a round/amoeboid morphology that requires Rho/ROCK-dependent phosphorylation of FilGAP. Moreover, depletion of FilGAP impaired breast cancer cell invasion through extracellular matrices and reduced tumor cell extravasation in vivo. Thus phosphorylation of FilGAP by ROCK appears to promote amoeboid morphology of carcinoma cells, and FilGAP contributes to tumor invasion.
Project description:Cancer cell invasion through physical barriers in the extracellular matrix (ECM) requires a complex synergy of traction force against the ECM, mechanosensitive feedback, and subsequent cytoskeletal rearrangement. PDMS microchannels were used to investigate the transition from mesenchymal to amoeboid invasion in cancer cells. Migration was faster in narrow 3 ?m-wide channels than in wider 10 ?m channels, even in the absence of cell-binding ECM proteins. Cells permeating narrow channels exhibited blebbing and had smooth leading edge profiles, suggesting an ECM-induced transition from mesenchymal invasion to amoeboid invasion. Live cell labeling revealed a mechanosensing period in which the cell attempts mesenchymal-based migration, reorganizes its cytoskeleton, and proceeds using an amoeboid phenotype. Rho/ROCK (amoeboid) and Rac (mesenchymal) pathway inhibition revealed that amoeboid invasion through confined environments relies on both pathways in a time- and ECM-dependent manner. This demonstrates that cancer cells can dynamically modify their invasion programming to navigate physically confining matrix conditions.
Project description: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:Malignant tumors are often associated with an elevated fluid pressure due to the abnormal growth of vascular vessels, and thus an increased interstitial flow out of the tumors. Recent in vitro works revealed that interstitial flows critically regulated tumor cell migration within a three dimensional biomatrix, and breast cancer cell migration behavior depended sensitively on the cell seeding density, chemokine availability and flow rates. In this paper, we focus on the role of interstitial flows in modulating the heterogeneity of cancer cell motility phenotype within a three dimensional biomatrix. Using a newly developed microfluidic model, we show that breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) embedded in a 3D type I collagen matrix exhibit both amoeboid and mesenchymal motility, and interstitial flows promote the cell population towards the amoeboid motility phenotype. Furthermore, the addition of exogenous adhesion molecules (fibronectin) within the extracellular matrix (type I collagen) partially rescues the mesenchymal phenotype in the presence of the flow. Quantitative analysis of cell tracks and cell shapes shows distinct differential migration characteristics of amoeboid and mesenchymal cells. Notably, the fastest moving cells belong to the subpopulation of amoeboid cells. Together, these findings highlight the important role of biophysical forces in modulating tumor cell migration heterogeneity and plasticity, as well as the suitability of microfluidic models in interrogating tumor cell dynamics at single-cell and subpopulation level.
Project description:Tumor-associated macrophages are known to amplify the malignant potential of tumors by secreting a variety of cytokines and proteases involved in tumor cell invasion and metastasis, but how these macrophages infiltrate tumors and whether the macrophage migration process facilitates tumor cell invasion remain poorly documented. To address these questions, we used cell spheroids of breast carcinoma SUM159PT cells as an in vitro model of solid tumors. We found that macrophages used both the mesenchymal mode requiring matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the amoeboid migration mode to infiltrate tumor cell spheroids. Whereas individual SUM159PT cells invaded Matrigel using an MMP-dependent mesenchymal mode, when they were grown as spheroids, tumor cells were unable to invade the Matrigel surrounding spheroids. When spheroids were infiltrated or in contact with macrophages, tumor cell invasiveness was restored. It was dependent on the capacity of macrophages to remodel the matrix and migrate in an MMP-independent mesenchymal mode. This effect of macrophages was much reduced when spheroids were infiltrated by Matrigel migration-defective Hck(-/-) macrophages. In the presence of macrophages, SUM159PT migrated into Matrigel in the proximity of macrophages and switched from an MMP-dependent mesenchymal migration to an amoeboid mode resistant to protease inhibitors.Thus, in addition to the well-described paracrine loop between macrophages and tumor cells, macrophages can also contribute to the invasiveness of tumor cells by remodeling the extracellular matrix and by opening the way to exit the tumor and colonize the surrounding tissues in an MMP-dispensable manner.
Project description:Tumor cell invasion requires the molecular and physical adaptation of both the cell and its microenvironment. Here we show that tumor cells are able to switch between the use of microvesicles and invadopodia to facilitate invasion through the extracellular matrix. Invadopodia formation accompanies the mesenchymal mode of migration on firm matrices and is facilitated by Rac1 activation. On the other hand, during invasion through compliant and deformable environments, tumor cells adopt an amoeboid phenotype and release microvesicles. Notably, firm matrices do not support microvesicle release, whereas compliant matrices are not conducive to invadopodia biogenesis. Furthermore, Rac1 activation is required for invadopodia function, while its inactivation promotes RhoA activation and actomyosin contractility required for microvesicle shedding. Suppression of RhoA signaling blocks microvesicle formation but enhances the formation of invadopodia. Finally, we describe Rho-mediated pathways involved in microvesicle biogenesis through the regulation of myosin light chain phosphatase. Our findings suggest that the ability of tumor cells to switch between the aforementioned qualitatively distinct modes of invasion may allow for dissemination across different microenvironments.
Project description:The focal adhesion proteins Hic-5 and paxillin have been previously identified as key regulators of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration and morphologic mesenchymal-amoeboid plasticity in three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrices (ECMs). However, their respective roles in other cancer cell types have not been evaluated. Herein, utilizing 3D cell-derived matrices and fibronectin-coated one-dimensional substrates, we show that across a variety of cancer cell lines, the level of Hic-5 expression serves as the major indicator of the cells primary morphology, plasticity, and in vitro invasiveness. Domain mapping studies reveal sites critical to the functions of both Hic-5 and paxillin in regulating phenotype, while ectopic expression of Hic-5 in cell lines with low endogenous levels of the protein is sufficient to induce a Rac1-dependent mesenchymal phenotype and, in turn, increase amoeboid-mesenchymal plasticity and invasion. We show that the activity of vinculin, when coupled to the expression of Hic-5 is required for the mesenchymal morphology in the 3D ECM. Taken together, our results identify Hic-5 as a critical modulator of tumor cell phenotype that could be utilized in predicting tumor cell migratory and invasive behavior in vivo.