Translate this page to:
In JoVE (1)
- Organotypic Collagen I Assay: A Malleable Platform to Assess Cell Behaviour in a 3-Dimensional Context
Other Publications (27)
- The Journal of Cell Biology
- Nature Methods
- FEBS Letters
- Journal of Cell Science
- Journal of Cell Science
- Developmental Cell
- Cytometry. Part A : the Journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology
- Molecular Biology of the Cell
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Developmental Cell
- Journal of Cell Science
- European Journal of Cell Biology
- PLoS Biology
- The Journal of General Physiology
- Cancer Research
- Cell Adhesion & Migration
- EMBO Reports
- Current Biology : CB
- Cell Adhesion & Migration
- The Journal of Cell Biology
- Cancer Research
- Cancer Cell
- Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.)
- Journal of Cell Science
- PloS One
- Small GTPases
- PloS One
Articles by Kurt I. Anderson in JoVE
Organotypic Collagen I Assay: A Malleable Platform to Assess Cell Behaviour in a 3-Dimensional Context
Paul Timpson1, Ewan J. Mcghee1, Zahra Erami1, Max Nobis1, Jean A. Quinn2, Mike Edward2, Kurt I. Anderson1
1The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Glasgow, 2Section of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Glasgow
A method is described for the preparation of a 3-dimensional matrix consisting of collagen type I and primary human fibroblasts. This organotypic gel serves as a useful substrate to assess invasive cell migration because it mimics basic features of tissue stroma and is amenable to many forms of microscopy.
Other articles by Kurt I. Anderson on PubMed
The Journal of Cell Biology. Jun, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12782685
Although cell movement is driven by actin, polarization and directional locomotion require an intact microtubule cytoskeleton that influences polarization by modulating substrate adhesion via specific targeting interactions with adhesion complexes. The fidelity of adhesion site targeting is precise; using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM), we now show microtubule ends (visualized by incorporation of GFP tubulin) are within 50 nm of the substrate when polymerizing toward the cell periphery, but not when shrinking from it. Multiple microtubules sometimes followed similar tracks, suggesting guidance along a common cytoskeletal element. Use of TIRFM with GFP- or DsRed-zyxin in combination with either GFP-tubulin or GFP-CLIP-170 further revealed that the polymerizing microtubule plus ends that tracked close to the dorsal surface consistently targeted substrate adhesion complexes. This supports a central role for the microtubule tip complex in the guidance of microtubules into adhesion foci, and provides evidence for an intimate cross-talk between microtubule tips and substrate adhesions in the range of molecular dimensions.
Nature Methods. Jan, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15782159
Microscopy of lipids in living cells is currently hampered by a lack of adequate fluorescent tags. The most frequently used tags, NBD and BODIPY, strongly influence the properties of lipids, yielding analogs with quite different characteristics. Here, we introduce polyene-lipids containing five conjugated double bonds as a new type of lipid tag. Polyene-lipids exhibit a unique structural similarity to natural lipids, which results in minimal effects on the lipid properties. Analyzing membrane phase partitioning, an important biophysical and biological property of lipids, we demonstrated the superiority of polyene-lipids to both NBD- and BODIPY-tagged lipids. Cells readily take up various polyene-lipid precursors and generate the expected end products with no apparent disturbance by the tag. Applying two-photon excitation microscopy, we imaged the distribution of polyene-lipids in living mammalian cells. For the first time, ether lipids, important for the function of the brain, were successfully visualized.
FEBS Letters. Mar, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15792810
We have characterized the cell surface of zebrafish stratified epithelium using a combined approach of light and atomic force microscopy under conditions which simulate wound healing. Microridges rise on average 100 nm above the surface of living epithelial cells, which correlate to bundles of cytochalasin B-insensitive actin filaments. Time-lapse microscopy revealed the bundles to form a highly dynamic network on the cell surface, in which bundles and junctions were severed and annealed on a time scale of minutes. Atomic force microscopy topographs further indicated that actin bundle junctions identified were of two types: overlaps and integrated end to side T- and Y-junctions. The surface bundle network is found only on the topmost cell layer of the explant, and never on individual locomoting cells. Possible functions of these actin bundles include cell compartmentalization of the cell surface, resistance to mechanical stress, and F-actin storage.
Journal of Cell Science. Jul, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15985465
WASP and WAVE family proteins promote actin polymerization by stimulating Arp2/3-complex-dependent filament nucleation. Unlike WAVE proteins, which are known to drive the formation of protrusions such as lamellipodia and membrane ruffles, vertebrate cell functions of WASP or N-WASP are less well established. Recent work demonstrated that clathrin-coated pit invagination can coincide with assembly of actin filaments and with accumulation of N-WASP and Arp2/3 complex, but the relevance of their recruitment has remained poorly defined. We employed two-colour total internal reflection microscopy to study the recruitment and dynamics of various components of the actin polymerization machinery and the epidermal growth factor receptor signalling machinery during clathrin-coated pit internalization in control cells and cells genetically deficient for functional N-WASP. We found that clathrin-coated pit endocytosis coincides with the recruitment of N-WASP, Arp2/3 complex and associated proteins, but not of WAVE family members. Actin accumulation at clathrin-coated pits requires the Arp2/3 complex, since Arp2/3 complex sequestration in the cytosol abolished any detectable actin assembly. The absence of N-WASP caused a significant reduction in the frequencies of actin and Arp2/3 complex accumulations at sites of clathrin-coated pit invagination and vesicle departure. Although N-WASP was not essential for Arp2/3-complex-mediated actin assembly at these sites or for EGF receptor-mediated endocytosis, N-WASP deficiency caused a marked reduction of EGF internalization. We conclude that the assembly of WASP subfamily proteins and associated factors at sites of clathrin-coated pit invagination amplifies actin accumulations at these sites promoting efficient internalization of ligands via clathrin-mediated endocytosis.
Journal of Cell Science. Oct, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16144867
Actin polymerization drives many cellular events, including endocytosis, pathogen rocketing, and cell spreading. Force generation and polymerization regulation are intimately linked where an actin meshwork attaches to, and pushes against, an interface. We reasoned that interaction with actin filament plus-ends might stabilize the position of components within the plasma membrane at the leading edge, thereby slowing the diffusion of lipids within the bilayer where filament growth occurs. To test this hypothesis we focally labeled the outer membrane leaflet of migrating keratocytes and compared the initial diffusion of carbocyanine dyes in the dorsal and ventral lamellipodium membranes using sequential TIRF and epi-fluorescent imaging. Global diffusion analysis shows that lateral mobility of lipids in the outer membrane leaflet is blocked at the leading edge during protrusion. Cytochalasin treatment abolished this diffusion barrier, but we found no evidence to support the involvement of membrane microdomains. Our results demonstrate the immobilization of membrane components at the leading edge, and suggest that interaction between actin filaments and the plasma membrane is mediated by densely packed molecular complexes. We propose that actin polymerization traps regulatory proteins at the leading edge in a positive-feedback loop.
Developmental Cell. Dec, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16326392
The mechanisms that order cellular packing geometry are critical for the functioning of many tissues, but they are poorly understood. Here, we investigate this problem in the developing wing of Drosophila. The surface of the wing is decorated by hexagonally packed hairs that are uniformly oriented by the planar cell polarity pathway. They are constructed by a hexagonal array of wing epithelial cells. Wing epithelial cells are irregularly arranged throughout most of development, but they become hexagonally packed shortly before hair formation. During the process, individual cell boundaries grow and shrink, resulting in local neighbor exchanges, and Cadherin is actively endocytosed and recycled through Rab11 endosomes. Hexagonal packing depends on the activity of the planar cell polarity proteins. We propose that these proteins polarize trafficking of Cadherin-containing exocyst vesicles during junction remodeling. This may be a common mechanism for the action of planar cell polarity proteins in diverse systems.
A New Configuration of the Zeiss LSM 510 for Simultaneous Optical Separation of Green and Red Fluorescent Protein Pairs
Cytometry. Part A : the Journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology. Aug, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16969813
The power and simplicity of genetically encoded fluorophores (fluorescent proteins, FPs) have drawn many molecular biologists to light microscopy. First generation FPs suffered from overlapping excitation and emission spectra, which limited their use together in pairs (Patterson et al., J Cell Sci 2001;114 (Part 5):837-838). Image acquisition and processing techniques, collectively known as linear unmixing, have been developed to separate overlapping fluorescence signals encountered in the imaging of FP pairs and also in FRET. These specialized techniques are not without their potential drawbacks, including limitations on sensitivity and time-resolution for live cell imaging, and the risk of artifact in the hands of nonspecialists. With the advent of a new generation of red-shifted FPs (Shaner et al., Nat Biotechnol 2004;22:1567-1572; Verkhusha and Lukyanov, Nat Biotechnol 2004;22:289-296) careful selection of excitation sources and emission filters obviate the need for linear unmixing when simple two channel imaging of FPs is required. Here we introduce a new configuration of the Zeiss LSM 510 laser scanning confocal microscope, optimized for live cell imaging of green fluorescent protein (GFP) together with spectral variants such as mRFP1 and mCherry using standard photo-multipliers. A 2 mW, 594 nm HeNe laser was chosen as the excitation source for the red FP. This wavelength efficiently excites the aforementioned red variants without limiting the detection range of GFP emission during simultaneous two-channel imaging. Compared to excitation of GFP and mCherry at 488 and 543 nm, excitation at 488 and 594 nm approximately doubles the sensitivity of GFP detection and eliminates bleed-through of GFP into the mCherry channel. However, sensitivity of mCherry detection is decreased by 30%, suggesting the need for red FPs having longer emission peaks. Practical advantages to the simultaneous optical separation of FPs with nonoverlapping emission spectra include simplicity, robustness, reduced risk of artifact, and increased sensitivity during live cell imaging.
Molecular Biology of the Cell. Nov, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16971511
Actin polymerization can be induced in Dictyostelium by compressing the cells to bring phagosomes filled with large particles into contact with the plasma membrane. Asymmetric actin assembly results in rocketing movement of the phagosomes. We show that the compression-induced assembly of actin at the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane involves the Arp2/3 complex. We also identify two other proteins associated with the mechanically induced actin assembly. The class I myosin MyoB accumulates at the plasma membrane-phagosome interface early during the initiation of the response, and coronin is recruited as the actin filaments are disassembling. The forces generated by rocketing phagosomes are sufficient to push the entire microtubule apparatus forward and to dislocate the nucleus.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Nov, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17704916
Fluorescent proteins have proven to be excellent tools for live-cell imaging. In addition to green fluorescent protein (GFP) and its variants, recent progress has led to the development of monomeric red fluorescent proteins (mRFPs) that show improved properties with respect to maturation, brightness, and the monomeric state. This review considers green and red spectral variants, their paired use for live-cell imaging in vivo, in vitro, and in fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) studies, in addition to other recent "two-color" advances including photoswitching and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC). It will be seen that green and red fluorescent proteins now exist with nearly ideal properties for dual-color microscopy and FRET.
Developmental Cell. Oct, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17925226
Here, we report a direct interaction between the beta1 integrin cytoplasmic tail and Rab25, a GTPase that has been linked to tumor aggressiveness and metastasis. Rab25 promotes a mode of migration on 3D matrices that is characterized by the extension of long pseudopodia, and the association of the GTPase with alpha5beta1 promotes localization of vesicles that deliver integrin to the plasma membrane at pseudopodial tips as well as the retention of a pool of cycling alpha5beta1 at the cell front. Furthermore, Rab25-driven tumor-cell invasion into a 3D extracellular matrix environment is strongly dependent on ligation of fibronectin by alpha5beta1 integrin and the capacity of Rab25 to interact with beta1 integrin. These data indicate that Rab25 contributes to tumor progression by directing the localization of integrin-recycling vesicles and thereby enhancing the ability of tumor cells to invade the extracellular matrix.
The Multi-FERM-domain-containing Protein FrmA is Required for Turnover of Paxillin-adhesion Sites During Cell Migration of Dictyostelium
Journal of Cell Science. Apr, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18349074
FERM domain proteins, including talins, ERMs, FAK and certain myosins, regulate connections between the plasma membrane, cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix. Here we show that FrmA, a Dictyostelium discoideum protein containing two talin-like FERM domains, plays a major role in normal cell shape, cell-substrate adhesion and actin cytoskeleton organisation. Using total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy we show that FrmA-null cells are more adherent to substrate than wild-type cells because of an increased number, persistence and mislocalisation of paxillin-rich cell-substrate adhesions, which is associated with decreased motility. We show for the first time that talinA colocalises with paxillin at the distal ends of filopodia to form cell-substrate adhesions and indeed arrives prior to paxillin. After a period of colocalisation, talin leaves the adhesion site followed by paxillin. Whereas talinA-rich spots turnover prior to the arrival of the main body of the cell, paxillin-rich spots turn over as the main body of the cell passes over it. In FrmA-null cells talinA initially localises to cell-substrate adhesion sites at the distal ends of filopodia but paxillin is instead localised to stabilised adhesion sites at the periphery of the main cell body. This suggests a model for cell-substrate adhesion in Dictyostelium whereby the talin-like FERM domains of FrmA regulate the temporal and spatial control of talinA and paxillin at cell-substrate adhesion sites, which in turn controls adhesion and motility.
European Journal of Cell Biology. Sep, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18375014
We have used fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) to study actin and plasma membrane dynamics in B16-F1 melanoma cells. In the absence of a FRET acceptor, significant changes in the fluorescence lifetime of GFP were induced simply by linking the fluorophore to different functional probes, including beta-actin, the PH domains of PLCdelta and Akt, the Ras farnesylation signal, and the neuromodulin palmitoylation signal (MEM). In contrast, the lifetime of GFP-actin was constant despite the many different local environments of G- and F-actin within the cell. Treatment with cytochalasin D but not latrunculin A significantly shortened the lifetime of GFP-beta-actin in the absence of a FRET acceptor. Robust lifetime shifts were observed using either a GFP-RFP chimera or co-transfection of GFP-MEM with RFP-MEM. In contrast to previous reports we observed a photobleaching-dependent change in the lifetime of GFP which could complicate the interpretation of FRET experiments. Of the membrane probes tested only the fluorescence lifetime of GFP-Akt was influenced by the presence of mRFP-actin, suggesting that the cortical actin meshwork is associated with a PIP3-enriched compartment of the plasma membrane. These results will aid in the design of new FRET-based approaches to study cytoskeletal interactions at the molecular level.
Neuropilin-1/GIPC1 Signaling Regulates Alpha5beta1 Integrin Traffic and Function in Endothelial Cells
PLoS Biology. Jan, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19175293
Neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) is a coreceptor for vascular endothelial growth factor A165 (VEGF-A165, VEGF-A164 in mice) and semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A). Nevertheless, Nrp1 null embryos display vascular defects that differ from those of mice lacking either VEGF-A164 or Sema3A proteins. Furthermore, it has been recently reported that Nrp1 is required for endothelial cell (EC) response to both VEGF-A165 and VEGF-A121 isoforms, the latter being incapable of binding Nrp1 on the EC surface. Taken together, these data suggest that the vascular phenotype caused by the loss of Nrp1 could be due to a VEGF-A164/SEMA3A-independent function of Nrp1 in ECs, such as adhesion to the extracellular matrix. By using RNA interference and rescue with wild-type and mutant constructs, we show here that Nrp1 through its cytoplasmic SEA motif and independently of VEGF-A165 and SEMA3A specifically promotes alpha5beta1-integrin-mediated EC adhesion to fibronectin that is crucial for vascular development. We provide evidence that Nrp1, while not directly mediating cell spreading on fibronectin, interacts with alpha5beta1 at adhesion sites. Binding of the homomultimeric endocytic adaptor GAIP interacting protein C terminus, member 1 (GIPC1), to the SEA motif of Nrp1 selectively stimulates the internalization of active alpha5beta1 in Rab5-positive early endosomes. Accordingly, GIPC1, which also interacts with alpha5beta1, and the associated motor myosin VI (Myo6) support active alpha5beta1 endocytosis and EC adhesion to fibronectin. In conclusion, we propose that Nrp1, in addition to and independently of its role as coreceptor for VEGF-A165 and SEMA3A, stimulates through its cytoplasmic domain the spreading of ECs on fibronectin by increasing the Rab5/GIPC1/Myo6-dependent internalization of active alpha5beta1. Nrp1 modulation of alpha5beta1 integrin function can play a causal role in the generation of angiogenesis defects observed in Nrp1 null mice.
Elevations of Intracellular Calcium Reflect Normal Voltage-dependent Behavior, and Not Constitutive Activity, of Voltage-dependent Calcium Channels in Gastrointestinal and Vascular Smooth Muscle
The Journal of General Physiology. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19289573
In smooth muscle, the gating of dihydropyridine-sensitive Ca(2+) channels may either be stochastic and voltage dependent or coordinated among channels and constitutively active. Each form of gating has been proposed to be largely responsible for Ca(2+) influx and determining the bulk average cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration. Here, the contribution of voltage-dependent and constitutively active channel behavior to Ca(2+) signaling has been studied in voltage-clamped single vascular and gastrointestinal smooth muscle cells using wide-field epifluorescence with near simultaneous total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. Depolarization (-70 to +10 mV) activated a dihydropyridine-sensitive voltage-dependent Ca(2+) current (I(Ca)) and evoked a rise in [Ca(2+)] in each of the subplasma membrane space and bulk cytoplasm. In various regions of the bulk cytoplasm the [Ca(2+)] increase ([Ca(2+)](c)) was approximately uniform, whereas that of the subplasma membrane space ([Ca(2+)](PM)) had a wide range of amplitudes and time courses. The variations that occurred in the subplasma membrane space presumably reflected an uneven distribution of active Ca(2+) channels (clusters) across the sarcolemma, and their activation appeared consistent with normal voltage-dependent behavior. Indeed, in the present study, dihydropyridine-sensitive Ca(2+) channels were not normally constitutively active. The repetitive localized [Ca(2+)](PM) rises ("persistent Ca(2+) sparklets") that characterize constitutively active channels were observed rarely (2 of 306 cells). Neither did dihydropyridine-sensitive constitutively active Ca(2+) channels regulate the bulk average [Ca(2+)](c). A dihydropyridine blocker of Ca(2+) channels, nimodipine, which blocked I(Ca) and accompanying [Ca(2+)](c) rise, reduced neither the resting bulk average [Ca(2+)](c) (at -70 mV) nor the rise in [Ca(2+)](c), which accompanied an increased electrochemical driving force on the ion by hyperpolarization (-130 mV). Activation of protein kinase C with indolactam-V did not induce constitutive channel activity. Thus, although voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels appear clustered in certain regions of the plasma membrane, constitutive activity is unlikely to play a major role in [Ca(2+)](c) regulation. The stochastic, voltage-dependent activity of the channel provides the major mechanism to generate rises in [Ca(2+)].
Real-time Study of E-cadherin and Membrane Dynamics in Living Animals: Implications for Disease Modeling and Drug Development
Cancer Research. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19318551
The ability of tumor cells to invade and metastasize requires deregulation of interactions with adjacent cells and the extracellular matrix. A major challenge of cancer biology is to observe the dynamics of the proteins involved in this process in their functional and physiologic context. Here, for the first time, we have used photobleaching and photoactivation to compare the mobility of cell adhesion and plasma membrane probes in vitro and in tumors grown in mice (in vivo). We find differences between in vitro and in vivo recovery dynamics of two key molecules, the tumor suppressor E-cadherin and the membrane-targeting sequence of H-Ras. Our data show that E-cadherin dynamics are significantly faster in vivo compared with cultured cells, that the ratio of E-cadherin stabilized in cell-cell junctions is significantly higher in vivo, and that E-cadherin mobility correlates with cell migration. Moreover, quantitative imaging has allowed us to assess the effects of therapeutic intervention on E-cadherin dynamics using dasatinib, a clinically approved Src inhibitor, and show clear differences in the efficacy of drug treatment in vivo. Our results show for the first time the utility of photobleaching and photoactivation in the analysis of dynamic biomarkers in living animals. Furthermore, this work highlights critical differences in molecular dynamics in vitro and in vivo, which have important implications for the use of cultured disease models as surrogates for living tissue.
Quantitative Real-time Imaging of Molecular Dynamics During Cancer Cell Invasion and Metastasis in Vivo
Cell Adhesion & Migration. Oct-Dec, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19690469
Despite our advanced understanding of primary cancer development and progression, metastasis and the systemic spread of the disease to secondary sites remains the leading cause of cancer-associated death. The metastatic process is therefore a major potential therapeutic target area for cancer researchers and elucidating the key steps that are susceptible to therapeutic intervention will be critical to improve our treatment strategies. Recent advances in intravital imaging are rapidly improving our insight into this process and are helping in the design of stage-specific drug regimes for the treatment of metastatic cancer. Here we discuss current developments in intravital imaging and our recent use of photobleaching and photoactivation in the analysis of dynamic biomarkers in living animals to assess the efficacy of therapeutic intervention on early stages of tumor cell metastasis.
The Rac Activator STEF (Tiam2) Regulates Cell Migration by Microtubule-mediated Focal Adhesion Disassembly
EMBO Reports. Apr, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20224579
Focal adhesion (FA) disassembly required for optimal cell migration is mediated by microtubules (MTs); targeting of FAs by MTs coincides with their disassembly. Regrowth of MTs, induced by removal of the MT destabilizer nocodazole, activates the Rho-like GTPase Rac, concomitant with FA disassembly. Here, we show that the Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Sif and Tiam1-like exchange factor (STEF) is responsible for Rac activation during MT regrowth. Importantly, STEF is required for multiple targeting of FAs by MTs. As a result, FAs in STEF-knockdown cells have a reduced disassembly rate and are consequently enlarged. This leads to reduced speed of migration. Together, these findings suggest a new role for STEF in FA disassembly and cell migration through MT-mediated mechanisms.
Current Biology : CB. Jun, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20493699
A fundamental question in cell biology concerns how cells respond to their environment by polarizing after sensing directional cues. This requires the differential localization of protein complexes in cells, and it is important to identify and understand how these complexes function. Here we describe a novel "direction-sensing" pathway that links the integrin effector focal adhesion kinase (FAK), the molecular scaffold protein RACK1, and activity of one of its client proteins, PDE4D5, a cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterase. The complex is recruited to nascent adhesions and promotes cell polarity. We identify FAK FERM domain residues whose mutation impairs RACK1 binding. When re-expressed in cancer cells in which endogenous fak is deleted by Cre-lox-mediated recombination, the RACK1-binding-impaired FAK mutant protein does not support formation of nascent actin adhesion structures as cells spread. These cancer cells, like FAK-deficient cells, cannot undergo directional responses, including wound-induced polarization or chemotactic invasion into three-dimensional matrix gels. We show that RACK1 serves as the molecular bridge linking FAK to the recruitment of PDE4D5. FAK/RACK1/PDE4D5 is a novel 'direction-sensing' complex that acts to recruit specific components of the cAMP second-messenger system to nascent integrin adhesions and to the leading edge of polarizing cells.
Use of Photoactivation and Photobleaching to Monitor the Dynamic Regulation of E-cadherin at the Plasma Membrane
Cell Adhesion & Migration. Oct-Dec, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20595808
The dynamic control of E-cadherin is critical for establishing and maintaining cell-cell junctions in epithelial cells. The concentration of E-cadherin molecules at adherens junctions (AJs) is regulated by lateral movement of E-cadherin within the plasma membrane and endocytosis. Here we set out to study the interplay between these processes and their contribution to E-cadherin dynamics. Using photoactivation (PA) and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) we were able to monitor the fate of E-cadherin molecules within the plasma membrane. Our results suggest that the motility of E-cadherin within, and away from, the cell surface are not exclusive or independent mechanisms and there is a fine balance between the two which when perturbed can have dramatic effects on the regulation of AJs.
The Journal of Cell Biology. Oct, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20876278
LIM kinases 1 and 2 (LIMK1/2) are centrally positioned regulators of actin cytoskeleton dynamics. Using siRNA-mediated knockdown or a novel small molecule inhibitor, we show LIMK is required for path generation by leading tumor cells and nontumor stromal cells during collective tumor cell invasion. LIMK inhibition lowers cofilin phosphorylation, F-actin levels, serum response factor transcriptional activity and collagen contraction, and reduces invasion in three-dimensional invasion assays. Although motility was unaffected, LIMK inhibition impairs matrix protein degradation and invadopodia formation associated with significantly faster recovery times in FRAP assays indicative of reduced F-actin stability. When LIMK is knocked down in MDA-MB-231 cells, they lose the ability to lead strands of collectively invading cells. Similarly, when LIMK activity is blocked in cancer-associated fibroblasts, they are unable to lead the collective invasion of squamous carcinoma cells in an organotypic skin model. These results show that LIMK is required for matrix remodeling activities for path generation by leading cells in collective invasion.
Cancer Research. Feb, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21266354
The ability to observe changes in molecular behavior during cancer cell invasion in vivo remains a major challenge to our understanding of the metastatic process. Here, we demonstrate for the first time, an analysis of RhoA activity at a subcellular level using FLIM-FRET (fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy-fluorescence resonance energy transfer) imaging in a live animal model of pancreatic cancer. In invasive mouse pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells driven by mutant p53 (p53(R172H)), we observed a discrete fraction of high RhoA activity at both the leading edge and rear of cells in vivo which was absent in two-dimensional in vitro cultures. Notably, this pool of active RhoA was absent in noninvasive p53(fl) knockout PDAC cells, correlating with their poor invasive potential in vivo. We used dasatanib, a clinically approved anti-invasive agent that is active in this model, to illustrate the functional importance of spatially regulated RhoA. Dasatanib inhibited the activity of RhoA at the poles of p53(R172H) cells in vivo and this effect was independent of basal RhoA activity within the cell body. Taken together, quantitative in vivo fluorescence lifetime imaging illustrated that RhoA is not only necessary for invasion, but also that subcellular spatial regulation of RhoA activity, as opposed to its global activity, is likely to govern invasion efficiency in vivo. Our findings reveal the utility of FLIM-FRET in analyzing dynamic biomarkers during drug treatment in living animals, and they also show how discrete intracellular molecular pools might be differentially manipulated by future anti-invasive therapies.
Actomyosin-mediated Cellular Tension Drives Increased Tissue Stiffness and β-catenin Activation to Induce Epidermal Hyperplasia and Tumor Growth
Cancer Cell. Jun, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21665151
Tumors and associated stroma manifest mechanical properties that promote cancer. Mechanosensation of tissue stiffness activates the Rho/ROCK pathway to increase actomyosin-mediated cellular tension to re-establish force equilibrium. To determine how actomyosin tension affects tissue homeostasis and tumor development, we expressed conditionally active ROCK2 in mouse skin. ROCK activation elevated tissue stiffness via increased collagen. β-catenin, a key element of mechanotranscription pathways, was stabilized by ROCK activation leading to nuclear accumulation, transcriptional activation, and consequent hyperproliferation and skin thickening. Inhibiting actomyosin contractility by blocking LIMK or myosin ATPase attenuated these responses, as did FAK inhibition. Tumor number, growth, and progression were increased by ROCK activation, while ROCK blockade was inhibitory, implicating actomyosin-mediated cellular tension and consequent collagen deposition as significant tumor promoters.
Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21748689
Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRF-M) has become an increasingly popular tool to study events in close proximity to the cell cortex, such as cell adhesion (Axelrod, J Cell Biol 89:141-145, 1981; Gingell et al., J Cell Biol 100:1334-1338, 1985; Patel et al., J Cell Sci 121:1159-1164, 2008), actin (Bretschneider et al., Curr Biol 14:1-10, 2004; Gerisch, Biophys J 87:3493-3503, 2004; Merrifield et al., Nat Cell Biol 4:691-698, 2002), and membrane dynamics (Oheim et al., Eur Biophys J 27:83-98, 1998; Steyer et al., Nature 388:474-478, 1997; Weisswange et al., J Cell Sci 118:4375-4380, 2005). In TIRF-M, dim fluorescence from cortical structures can be imaged with high contrast despite large cytoplasmic background from the bulk of the cell body. With any imaging method, standard samples are required to ensure correct alignment and monitor system performance over time. Here, we describe procedures for the production and use of a test sample to characterise and optimize TIRF system performance.
Journal of Cell Science. Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21878495
Advances in fluorescence microscopy have enabled the study of membrane diffusion, cell adhesion and signal transduction at the molecular level in living cells grown in culture. By contrast, imaging in living organisms has primarily been restricted to the localization and dynamics of cells in tissues. Now, imaging of molecular dynamics is on the cusp of progressing from cell culture to living tissue. This transition has been driven by the understanding that the microenvironment critically determines many developmental and pathological processes. Here, we review recent progress in fluorescent protein imaging in vivo by drawing primarily on cancer-related studies in mice. We emphasize the need for techniques that can be easily combined with genetic models and complement fluorescent protein imaging by providing contextual information about the cellular environment. In this Commentary we will consider differences between in vitro and in vivo experimental design and argue for an approach to in vivo imaging that is built upon the use of intermediate systems, such as 3-D and explant culture models, which offer flexibility and control that is not always available in vivo. Collectively, these methods present a paradigm shift towards the molecular-level investigation of disease and therapy in animal models of disease.
Linear Approaches to Intramolecular Förster Resonance Energy Transfer Probe Measurements for Quantitative Modeling
PloS One. 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22114702
Numerous unimolecular, genetically-encoded Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) probes for monitoring biochemical activities in live cells have been developed over the past decade. As these probes allow for collection of high frequency, spatially resolved data on signaling events in live cells and tissues, they are an attractive technology for obtaining data to develop quantitative, mathematical models of spatiotemporal signaling dynamics. However, to be useful for such purposes the observed FRET from such probes should be related to a biological quantity of interest through a defined mathematical relationship, which is straightforward when this relationship is linear, and can be difficult otherwise. First, we show that only in rare circumstances is the observed FRET linearly proportional to a biochemical activity. Therefore in most cases FRET measurements should only be compared either to explicitly modeled probes or to concentrations of products of the biochemical activity, but not to activities themselves. Importantly, we find that FRET measured by standard intensity-based, ratiometric methods is inherently non-linear with respect to the fraction of probes undergoing FRET. Alternatively, we find that quantifying FRET either via (1) fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) or (2) ratiometric methods where the donor emission intensity is divided by the directly-excited acceptor emission intensity (denoted R(alt)) is linear with respect to the fraction of probes undergoing FRET. This linearity property allows one to calculate the fraction of active probes based on the FRET measurement. Thus, our results suggest that either FLIM or ratiometric methods based on R(alt) are the preferred techniques for obtaining quantitative data from FRET probe experiments for mathematical modeling purposes.
FLIM-FRET Imaging in Vivo Reveals 3D-environment Spatially Regulates RhoGTPase Activity During Cancer Cell Invasion
Small GTPases. 7, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22145098
Many conceptual advances in biology have been achieved by experimental studies using planar two-dimensional cell culture systems. Recent adaptations of molecular techniques to three-dimensional model systems are bridging the gap in our understanding of biological events in vitro and in vivo in the study of disease progression. Recently, in vitro studies using Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) have shown that the prototypical RhoGTPases Cdc42, Rac and RhoA are temporally and spatially synchronized during cell migration, with initial RhoA activity inducing protrusion prior to activation of Rac. This simultaneous FRET approach illustrates the tight control and dynamic regulation of RhoGTPase activity necessary for coordinated cell migration in vitro. Here, we discuss our recent work using FLIM-FRET analysis in a three-dimensional setting to reveal another layer of regulation in which RhoA activity is governed by the extracellular microenvironment. We demonstrate that RhoA is spatially regulated into discrete fractions of activity at the leading edge and rear of cells during invasion in vivo or within three-dimensional matrices. Significantly, this spatial regulation of RhoA was absent in two-dimensional in vitro settings. This distinct sub-cellular regulation of RhoA at the poles of invading cells in three-dimensions sets a precedent that other RhoGTPases or signaling proteins may also be differentially regulated in a con-text-dependent manner during key biological processes such as invasion.
PloS One. 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22303455
Myelination is an exquisite and dynamic example of heterologous cell-cell interaction, which consists of the concentric wrapping of multiple layers of oligodendrocyte membrane around neuronal axons. Understanding the mechanism by which oligodendrocytes ensheath axons may bring us closer to designing strategies to promote remyelination in demyelinating diseases. The main aim of this study was to follow glial-axonal interactions over time both in vitro and ex vivo to visualize the various stages of myelination.