A Relatively Small Gradient of Extracellular pH Directs Migration of MDA-MB-231 Cells In Vitro.
ABSTRACT: Hematogenous tumor metastasis begins with the invasion and spread of primary tumor cells in the local tissue leading to intravasation. We hypothesized that tumor cells might actively migrate toward intratumor vessels with the extracellular metabolic gradient acting as a guiding cue. Here, we determined in vitro whether the extracellular gradient of pH can act as a cue for directional migration in MDA-MB-231 cells. Cell migration was determined by the wound-healing assay under gradients of extracellular pH (~0.2 units/mm) and oxygen concentration (~6% O2/mm) that were produced by a microfluidic device, gap cover glass (GCG). Without GCG, the migration of cells was spatially homogeneous; the same number of cells migrated to the rectangular wound space from the left and right boundaries. In contrast, when GCG generated pH/O2 gradients across the wound space, the number of cells migrating to the wound space from the boundary with higher pH/O2 values was considerably decreased, indicating a preferential movement of cells toward the region of higher pH/O2 in the gradient. The addition of hepes in the extracellular medium abolished both the extracellular pH gradient and the directional cell migration under GCG. We conclude that relatively small gradients of pH in the extracellular medium compared to those found in Na+/H+ exchanger-driven cell migration were sufficient to guide MDA-MB-231 cells. The directional cell migration as guided by the metabolic gradient could effectively elevate the probability of intravasation and, ultimately, hematogenous metastasis.
Project description:Naturally occurring gradients often extend over relatively long distances such that their steepness is too small for bacteria to detect. We studied the bacterial behavior in such thermal gradients. We find that bacteria migrate along shallow thermal gradients due to a change in their swimming speed resulting from the effect of temperature on the intracellular pH, which also depends on the chemical environment. When nutrients are scarce in the environment the bacteria's intracellular pH decreases with temperature. As a result, the swimming speed of the bacteria decreases with temperature, which causes them to slowly drift toward the warm end of the thermal gradient. However, when serine is added to the medium at concentrations >300 ?M, the intracellular pH increases causing the swimming speed to increase continuously with temperature, and the bacteria to drift toward the cold end of the temperature gradient. This directional migration is not a result of bacterial thermotaxis in the classical sense, because the steepness of the gradients applied is below the sensing threshold of bacteria. Nevertheless, our results show that the directional switch requires the presence of the bacterial sensing receptors. This seems to be due to the involvement of the receptors in regulating the intracellular pH.
Project description:Wound repair is a quiescent mechanism to restore barriers in multicellular organisms upon injury. In chronic wounds, however, this program prematurely stalls. It is known that patterns of extracellular signals within the wound fluid are crucial to healing. Extracellular pH (pHe) is precisely regulated and potentially important in signaling within wounds due to its diverse cellular effects. Additionally, sufficient oxygenation is a prerequisite for cell proliferation and protein synthesis during tissue repair. It was, however, impossible to study these parameters in vivo due to the lack of imaging tools. Here, we present luminescent biocompatible sensor foils for dual imaging of pHe and oxygenation in vivo. To visualize pHe and oxygen, we used time-domain dual lifetime referencing (tdDLR) and luminescence lifetime imaging (LLI), respectively. With these dual sensors, we discovered centripetally increasing pHe-gradients on human chronic wound surfaces. In a therapeutic approach, we identify pHe-gradients as pivotal governors of cell proliferation and migration, and show that these pHe-gradients disrupt epidermal barrier repair, thus wound closure. Parallel oxygen imaging also revealed marked hypoxia, albeit with no correlating oxygen partial pressure (pO2)-gradient. This highlights the distinct role of pHe-gradients in perturbed healing. We also found that pHe-gradients on chronic wounds of humans are predominantly generated via centrifugally increasing pHe-regulatory Na+/H+-exchanger-1 (NHE1)-expression. We show that the modification of pHe on chronic wound surfaces poses a promising strategy to improve healing. The study has broad implications for cell science where spatial pHe-variations play key roles, e.g. in tumor growth. Furthermore, the novel dual sensors presented herein can be used to visualize pHe and oxygenation in various biomedical fields.
Project description:Chemotactic migration of fibroblasts toward growth factors relies on their capacity to sense minute extracellular gradients and respond to spatially confined receptor-mediated signals. Currently, mechanisms underlying the gradient sensing of fibroblasts remain poorly understood. Using single-particle tracking methodology, we determined that a lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) gradient induces a spatiotemporally restricted decrease in the mobility of LPA receptor 2 (LPA2) on chemotactic fibroblasts. The onset of decreased LPA2 mobility correlates to the spatial recruitment and coupling to LPA2-interacting proteins that anchor the complex to the cytoskeleton. These localized PDZ motif-mediated macromolecular complexes of LPA2 trigger a Ca(2+) puff gradient that governs gradient sensing and directional migration in response to LPA. Disruption of the PDZ motif-mediated assembly of the macromolecular complex of LPA2 disorganizes the gradient of Ca(2+) puffs, disrupts gradient sensing, and reduces the directional migration of fibroblasts toward LPA. Our findings illustrate that the asymmetric macromolecular complex formation of chemoattractant receptors mediates gradient sensing and provides a new mechanistic basis for models to describe gradient sensing of fibroblasts.
Project description:Chemokine-mediated directed tumor cell migration within a three dimensional (3D) matrix, or chemoinvasion, is an important early step in cancer metastasis. Despite its clinical importance, it is largely unknown how cytokine and growth factor gradients within the tumor microenvironment regulate chemoinvasion. We studied tumor cell chemoinvasion in well-defined and stable chemical gradients using a robust 3D microfluidic model. We used CXCL12 (also known as SDF-1?) and epidermal growth factor (EGF), two well-known extracellular signaling molecules that co-exist in the tumor microenvironment (e.g. lymph nodes or intravasation sites), and a malignant breast tumor cell line, MDA-MB-231, embedded in type I collagen. When subjected to SDF-1? gradients alone, MDA-MB-231 cells migrated up the gradient, and the measured chemosensitivity (defined as the average cell velocity along the direction of the gradient) followed the ligand - receptor (SDF-1? - CXCR4) binding kinetics. On the other hand, when subjected to EGF gradients alone, tumor cells increased their overall motility, but without statistically significant chemotactic (directed) migration, in contrast to previous reports using 2D chemotaxis assays. Interestingly, we found that the chemoinvasive behavior to SDF-1? gradients was abrogated or even reversed in the presence of uniform concentrations of EGF; however, the presence of SDF-1? and EGF together modulated tumor cell motility cooperatively. These findings demonstrate the capabilities of our microfluidic model in re-creating complex microenvironments for cells, and the importance of cooperative roles of multiple cytokine and growth factor gradients in regulating cell migration in 3D environments.
Project description:We used a spatial light modulator to project an optical micropattern of 473 nm light with a quartic intensity gradient on a single lung cancer cell. We observed that the intracellular amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) of the cancer cells were proportional to the intensity of the blue light, and the blue light intensity gradients could drive directional cell migration. This optically induced directional cell migration was inhibited by a ROS scavenger in the culture medium in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, the ROS levels in fibroblasts were saturated by the blue light at low intensity and therefore the fibroblasts did not exhibit directional migration in the intensity gradient.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether regional alveolar oxygen tension (P(A)O2) vertical gradients imaged with hyperpolarized (3)He can identify smoking-induced pulmonary alterations. These gradients are compared with common clinical measurements including pulmonary function tests (PFTs), the six minute walk test, and the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire. 8 healthy non-smokers, 12 asymptomatic smokers, and 7 symptomatic subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) underwent two sets of back-to-back P(A)O2 imaging acquisitions in the supine position in two opposite directions (top to bottom and bottom to top), followed by clinically standard pulmonary tests. The whole-lung mean, standard deviation (DP(A)O2) and vertical gradients of P(A)O2 along the slices were extracted, and the results were compared with clinically derived metrics. Statistical tests were performed to analyze the differences between cohorts. The anterior-posterior vertical gradients and DP(A)O2 effectively differentiated all three cohorts (p < 0.05). The average vertical gradient P(A)O2 in healthy subjects was -1.03?±?0.51?Torr/cm toward lower values in the posterior/dependent regions. The directional gradient was absent in smokers (0.36?±?1.22?Torr/cm) and was in the opposite direction in COPD subjects (2.18?±?1.54?Torr/cm). The vertical gradients correlated with smoking history (p = 0.004); body mass index (p = 0.037), PFT metrics (forced expiratory volume in 1 s, p = 0.025; residual volume/total lung capacity percent predicted, p = 0.033) and with distance walked in 6 min (p = 0.009). Regional P(A)O2 data indicate that cigarette smoke induces physiological alterations that are not being detected by the most widely used physiological tests.
Project description:We investigated how engineered gradients of exogenous growth factors, immobilized to an extracellular matrix material, influence collective guidance of stem cell populations over extended time (>1 day) and length (>1 mm) scales in vitro. Patterns of low-to-high, high-to-low, and uniform concentrations of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor were inkjet printed at precise locations on fibrin substrates. Proliferation and migration responses of mesenchymal stem cells seeded at pattern origins were observed with time-lapse video microscopy and analyzed using both manual and automated computer vision-based cell tracking techniques. Based on results of established chemotaxis studies, we expected that the low-to-high gradient would most effectively direct cell guidance away from the cell source. All printed patterns, however, were found to direct net collective cell guidance with comparable responses. Our analysis revealed that collective "cell diffusion" down a cell-to-cell confinement gradient originating at the cell starting lines and not the net sum of directed individual cell migration up a growth factor concentration gradient is the principal driving force for directing mesenchymal stem cell population outgrowth from a cell source. These results suggest that simple uniform distributions of growth factors immobilized to an extracellular matrix material may be as effective in directing cell migration into a wound site as more complex patterns with concentration gradients.
Project description:The directed movement of fibroblasts towards locally released platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is a critical event in wound healing. Although recent studies have implicated polarized activation of phosphoinositide (PI) 3-kinase in G protein-mediated chemotaxis, the role of 3' PI lipids in tyrosine kinase-triggered chemotaxis is not well understood. Using evanescent wave microscopy and green fluorescent protein-tagged Akt pleckstrin homology domain (GFP-AktPH) as a molecular sensor, we show that application of a shallow PDGF gradient triggers a markedly steeper gradient in 3' PI lipids in the adhesion zone of fibroblasts. Polar GFP-AktPH gradients, as well as a new type of radial gradient, were measured from front to rear and from the periphery to the center of the adhesion zone, respectively. A strong spatial correlation between polarized 3' PI production and rapid membrane spreading implicates 3' PI lipids as a direct mediator of polarized migration. Analysis of the temporal changes of 3' PI gradients in the adhesion zone revealed a fast diffusion coefficient (0.5 microm(2)/s) and short lifetime of 3' PIs of <1 min. Together, this study suggests that the tyrosine kinase-coupled directional movement of fibroblasts and their radial membrane activity are controlled by local generation and rapid degradation of 3' PI second messengers.
Project description:Lamellipodia are sheet-like, leading edge protrusions in firmly adherent cells that contain Arp2/3-generated dendritic actin networks. Although lamellipodia are widely believed to be critical for directional cell motility, this notion has not been rigorously tested. Using fibroblasts derived from Ink4a/Arf-deficient mice, we generated a stable line depleted of Arp2/3 complex that lacks lamellipodia. This line shows defective random cell motility and relies on a filopodia-based protrusion system. Utilizing a microfluidic gradient generation system, we tested the role of Arp2/3 complex and lamellipodia in directional cell migration. Surprisingly, Arp2/3-depleted cells respond normally to shallow gradients of PDGF, indicating that lamellipodia are not required for fibroblast chemotaxis. Conversely, these cells cannot respond to a surface-bound gradient of extracellular matrix (haptotaxis). Consistent with this finding, cells depleted of Arp2/3 fail to globally align focal adhesions, suggesting that one principle function of lamellipodia is to organize cell-matrix adhesions in a spatially coherent manner.
Project description:Chemoattractants regulate diverse immunological, developmental, and pathological processes, but how cell migration patterns are shaped by attractant production in tissues remains incompletely understood. Using computational modeling and chemokine-releasing microspheres (CRMs), cell-sized attractant-releasing beads, we analyzed leukocyte migration in physiologic gradients of CCL21 or CCL19 produced by beads embedded in 3D collagen gels. Individual T-cells that migrated into contact with CRMs exhibited characteristic highly directional migration to attractant sources independent of their starting position in the gradient (and thus independent of initial gradient strength experienced) but the fraction of responding cells was highly sensitive to position in the gradient. These responses were consistent with modeling calculations assuming a threshold absolute difference in receptor occupancy across individual cells of ~10 receptors required to stimulate chemotaxis. In sustained gradients eliciting low receptor desensitization, attracted T-cells or dendritic cells swarmed around isolated CRMs for hours. With increasing CRM density, overlapping gradients and high attractant concentrations caused a transition from local swarming to transient "hopping" of cells bead to bead. Thus, diverse migration responses observed in vivo may be determined by chemoattractant source density and secretion rate, which govern receptor occupancy patterns in nearby cells.