GNrep mouse: A reporter mouse for front-rear cell polarity.
ABSTRACT: Cell migration is essential during development, regeneration, homeostasis, and disease. Depending on the microenvironment, cells use different mechanisms to migrate. Yet, all modes of migration require the establishment of an intracellular front-rear polarity axis for directional movement. Although front-rear polarity can be easily identified in in vitro conditions, its assessment in vivo by live-imaging is challenging due to tissue complexity and lack of reliable markers. Here, we describe a novel and unique double fluorescent reporter mouse line to study front-rear cell polarity in living tissues, called GNrep. This mouse line simultaneously labels Golgi complexes and nuclei allowing the assignment of a nucleus-to-Golgi axis to each cell, which functions as a readout for cell front-rear polarity. As a proof-of-principle, we validated the efficiency of the GNrep line using an endothelial-specific Cre mouse line. We show that the GNrep labels the nucleus and the Golgi apparatus of endothelial cells with very high efficiency and high specificity. Importantly, the features of fluorescent intensity and localization for both mCherry and eGFP fluorescent intensity and localization allow automated segmentation and assignment of polarity vectors in complex tissues, making GNrep a great tool to study cell behavior in large-scale automated analyses. Altogether, the GNrep mouse line, in combination with different Cre recombinase lines, is a novel and unique tool to study of front-rear polarity in mice, both in fixed tissues or in intravital live imaging. This new line will be instrumental to understand cell migration and polarity in development, homeostasis, and disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sprouting angiogenesis is a key process driving blood vessel growth in ischemic tissues and an important drug target in a number of diseases, including wet macular degeneration and wound healing. Endothelial cells forming the sprout must develop front-rear polarity to allow sprout extension. The adaptor proteins Nck1 and 2 are known regulators of cytoskeletal dynamics and polarity, but their function in angiogenesis is poorly understood. Here, we show that the Nck adaptors are required for endothelial cell front-rear polarity and migration downstream of the angiogenic growth factors VEGF-A and Slit2. METHODS AND RESULTS:Mice carrying inducible, endothelial-specific Nck1/2 deletions fail to develop front-rear polarized vessel sprouts and exhibit severe angiogenesis defects in the postnatal retina and during embryonic development. Inactivation of NCK1 and 2 inhibits polarity by preventing Cdc42 and Pak2 activation by VEGF-A and Slit2. Mechanistically, NCK binding to ROBO1 is required for both Slit2- and VEGF-induced front-rear polarity. Selective inhibition of polarized endothelial cell migration by targeting Nck1/2 prevents hypersprouting induced by Notch or Bmp signaling inhibition, and pathological ocular neovascularization and wound healing, as well. CONCLUSIONS:These data reveal a novel signal integration mechanism involving NCK1/2, ROBO1/2, and VEGFR2 that controls endothelial cell front-rear polarity during sprouting angiogenesis.
Project description:We have used isoform-specific RNA interference knockdowns to investigate the roles of myosin IIA (MIIA) and MIIB in the component processes that drive cell migration. Both isoforms reside outside of protrusions and act at a distance to regulate cell protrusion, signaling, and maturation of nascent adhesions. MIIA also controls the dynamics and size of adhesions in central regions of the cell and contributes to retraction and adhesion disassembly at the rear. In contrast, MIIB establishes front-back polarity and centrosome, Golgi, and nuclear orientation. Using ATPase- and contraction-deficient mutants of both MIIA and MIIB, we show a role for MIIB-dependent actin cross-linking in establishing front-back polarity. From these studies, MII emerges as a master regulator and integrator of cell migration. It mediates each of the major component processes that drive migration, e.g., polarization, protrusion, adhesion assembly and turnover, polarity, signaling, and tail retraction, and it integrates spatially separated processes.
Project description:Angiogenesis involves the coordinated growth and migration of endothelial cells (ECs) toward a proangiogenic signal. The Wnt planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway, through the recruitment of Dishevelled (Dvl) and Dvl-associated activator of morphogenesis (Daam1), has been proposed to regulate cell actin cytoskeleton and microtubule (MT) reorganization for oriented cell migration. Here we report that Kif26b--a kinesin--and Daam1 cooperatively regulate initiation of EC sprouting and directional migration via MT reorganization. First, we find that Kif26b is recruited within the Dvl3/Daam1 complex. Using a three-dimensional in vitro angiogenesis assay, we show that Kif26b and Daam1 depletion impairs tip cell polarization and destabilizes extended vascular processes. Kif26b depletion specifically alters EC directional migration and mislocalized MT organizing center (MTOC)/Golgi and myosin IIB cell rear enrichment. Therefore the cell fails to establish a proper front-rear polarity. Of interest, Kif26b ectopic expression rescues the siDaam1 polarization defect phenotype. Finally, we show that Kif26b functions in MT stabilization, which is indispensable for asymmetrical cell structure reorganization. These data demonstrate that Kif26b, together with Dvl3/Daam1, initiates cell polarity through the control of PCP signaling pathway-dependent activation.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a potent chemotactic and mitogenic factor for epidermal keratinocytes, and these properties are central for normal epidermal regeneration after injury. The involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinases as mediators of the proliferative effects of EGF is well established. However, the molecular mechanisms that mediate motogenic responses to this growth factor are not clearly understood. An obligatory step for forward cell migration is the development of front-rear polarity and formation of lamellipodia at the leading edge. We show that stimulation of epidermal keratinocytes with EGF, but not with other growth factors, induces development of front-rear polarity and directional migration through a pathway that requires integrin-linked kinase (ILK), Engulfment and Cell Motility-2 (ELMO2), integrin ?1, and Rac1. Furthermore, EGF induction of front-rear polarity and chemotaxis require the tyrosine kinase activity of the EGF receptor and are mediated by complexes containing active RhoG, ELMO2, and ILK. Our findings reveal a novel link between EGF receptor stimulation, ILK-containing complexes, and activation of small Rho GTPases necessary for acquisition of front-rear polarity and forward movement.
Project description:Cell migration is controlled by various Ca(2+) signals. Local Ca(2+) signals, in particular, have been identified as versatile modulators of cell migration because of their spatiotemporal diversity. However, little is known about how local Ca(2+) signals coordinate between the front and rear regions in directionally migrating cells. Here, we elucidate the spatial role of local Ca(2+) signals in directed cell migration through combinatorial application of an optogenetic toolkit. An optically guided cell migration approach revealed the existence of Ca(2+) sparklets mediated by L-type voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels in the rear part of migrating cells. Notably, we found that this locally concentrated Ca(2+) influx acts as an essential transducer in establishing a global front-to-rear increasing Ca(2+) gradient. This asymmetrical Ca(2+) gradient is crucial for maintaining front-rear morphological polarity by restricting spontaneous lamellipodia formation in the rear part of migrating cells. Collectively, our findings demonstrate a clear link between local Ca(2+) sparklets and front-rear coordination during directed cell migration.
Project description:Directional cell motility relies on the ability of single cells to establish a front-rear polarity and can occur in the absence of external cues. The initiation of migration has often been attributed to the spontaneous polarization of cytoskeleton components, while the spatiotemporal evolution of cell-substrate interaction forces has yet to be resolved. Here, we establish a one-dimensional microfabricated migration assay that mimics the complex in vivo fibrillar environment while being compatible with high-resolution force measurements, quantitative microscopy, and optogenetics. Quantification of morphometric and mechanical parameters of NIH-3T3 fibroblasts and RPE1 epithelial cells reveals a generic stick-slip behavior initiated by contractility-dependent stochastic detachment of adhesive contacts at one side of the cell, which is sufficient to trigger cell motility in 1D in the absence of pre-established polarity. A theoretical model validates the crucial role of adhesion dynamics, proposing that front-rear polarity can emerge independently of a complex self-polarizing system.
Project description:The importance of centrosome in directional cell migration has long been recognized. However, the conventional view that centrosome determines cell's front, based on its often-observed position in front of the nucleus, has been challenged by contradictory observations. Here we show that centrosome defines the rear instead of the front, using cells plated on micropatterned adhesive strips to facilitate directional migration. We found that centrosome is always located proximal to the future rear before polarity is established through symmetry breaking or reversed as the cell reaches a dead end. In addition, using microsurgery to alter the distance of centrosomes from cells' ends, we show that centrosomal proximity is predictive of the placement of the rear. Removal of centrosome impairs directional cell migration, whereas the removal of nucleus alone makes no difference in most cells. Computer modeling under the framework of a local-enhancement/global-inhibition mechanism further demonstrates that positioning of rear retraction, mediated by signals concentrated near the centrosome, recapitulates all the experimental observations. Our results resolve a long-standing controversy and explain how cells use centrosome and microtubules to maintain directional migration.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of breast cancer with high risk of relapse and metastasis. TNBC is a heterogeneous disease comprising different molecular subtypes including those with mesenchymal features. The tyrosine kinase AXL is expressed in mesenchymal cells and plays a role in drug resistance, migration and metastasis. We confirm that AXL is more expressed in mesenchymal TNBC cells compared to luminal breast cancer cells, and that its invalidation impairs cell migration while having no or little effect on cell viability. Here, we found that AXL controls directed migration. We observed that AXL displays a polarized localization at the Golgi apparatus and the leading edge of migratory mesenchymal TNBC cells. AXL co-localizes with F-actin at the front of the cells. In migratory polarized cells, the specific AXL inhibitor R428 displaces AXL and F-actin from the leading edge to a lateral area localized between the front and the rear of the cells where both are enriched in protrusions. In addition, R428 treatment disrupts the polarized localization of the Golgi apparatus towards the leading edge in migratory cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of aggressive chemo-resistant TNBC samples obtained before treatment reveals inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity of the percentage of AXL expressing tumor cells, and a preference of these cells to be in contact with the stroma. Taken together, our study demonstrates that AXL controls directed cell migration most likely by regulating cell polarity.
Project description:The small GTPase Cdc42 is a key regulator of polarity, but little is known in mammals about its spatial regulation and the relevance of spatial Cdc42 pools for polarity. Here we report the identification of a GM130-RasGRF complex as a regulator of Cdc42 at the Golgi. Silencing GM130 results in RasGRF-dependent inhibition of the Golgi pool of Cdc42, but does not affect Cdc42 at the cell surface. Furthermore, active Cdc42 at the Golgi is important to sustain asymmetric front-rear Cdc42-GTP distribution in directionally migrating cells. Concurrent to Cdc42 inhibition, silencing GM130 also results in RasGRF-dependent Ras-ERK pathway activation. Moreover, depletion of GM130 is sufficient to induce E-cadherin downregulation, indicative of a loss in cell polarity and epithelial identity. Accordingly, GM130 expression is frequently lost in colorectal and breast cancer patients. These findings establish a previously unrecognized role for a GM130-RasGRF-Cdc42 connection in regulating polarity and tumorigenesis.
Project description:Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and maturation of collagen fibrils in the tumor microenvironment play a significant role in cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Confinement along fiber-like tracks enhances cell migration. To what extent and in what manner EMT further promotes migration in a microenvironment already conducive to migration is poorly understood. Here, we show that TGF?-mediated EMT significantly enhances migration on fiber-like micropatterned tracks of collagen, doubling migration speed and tripling persistence relative to untreated mammary epithelial cells. Thus, cell-intrinsic EMT and extrinsic fibrillar tracks have nonredundant effects on motility. To better understand EMT-enhanced fibrillar migration, we investigated the regulation of Golgi positioning, which is involved in front-rear polarization and persistent cell migration. Confinement along fiber-like tracks has been reported to favor posterior Golgi positioning, whereas anterior positioning is observed during 2-day wound healing. Although EMT also regulates cell polarity, little is known about its effect on Golgi positioning. Here, we show that EMT induces a 2:1 rearward bias in Golgi positioning; however, positional bias explains less than 2% of single-cell variability in migration speed and persistence. Meanwhile, EMT significantly stabilizes Golgi positioning. Cells that enhance migration in response to TGF? maintain Golgi position for 2- to 4-fold longer than nonresponsive counterparts irrespective of whether the Golgi is ahead or behind the nucleus. In fact, 28% of TGF?-responsive cells exhibit a fully committed Golgi phenotype with the organelle either in the anterior or posterior position for over 90% of the time. Furthermore, single-cell differences in Golgi stability capture up to 18% of variations in migration speed. These results suggest a hypothesis that the Golgi may be part of a core physical scaffold that affects how cell-generated forces are distributed during migration. A stable scaffold would be expected to more consistently and therefore more productively distribute forces over time, leading to efficient migration.