Spinal motor neurons are critical to the ability of animals to move and thus essential to survival. Motor neurons that project axons to distinct limb-muscle targets are topographically organized such that central nervous system position reflects the location of the muscle in the limb. The central positioning of limb-projecting motor neurons arises during development through motor neuron migration followed by a period of coalescence into discrete groupings of motor neurons which project axons to an individual muscle. These so-called motor pools are a common feature of motor organization in higher vertebrates. Recent work has highlighted the critical role for armadillo family member catenin-dependent functions of the cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules in directing the organization of motor neurons. Cadherin function appears to be important for both the motor neuron migration and coalescence phases of the emergence of motor neuron topography. Here, I review this recent work in the context of our understanding of the general development of spinal motor neurons.
cadherin; catenin; migration; radial glia; molecular clutch; spinal cord; motor neuron; neuronal nuclei; nucleogenesis
The choroid plexus is a multifunctional organ that sits at the interface between the blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It serves as a gateway for immune cell trafficking into the CSF and is in an excellent position to provide continuous immune surveillance by CD4+ T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells and to regulate immune cell trafficking in response to disease and trauma. However, little is known about the mechanisms that control trafficking through this structure. Three cell types within the choroid plexus, in particular, may play prominent roles in controlling the development of immune responses within the nervous system: the epithelial cells, which form the blood-CSF barrier, and resident macrophages and dendritic cells in the stromal matrix. Adhesion molecule and chemokine expression by the epithelial cells allows substantial control over the selection of cells that transmigrate. Macrophages and dendritic cells can present antigen within the choroid plexus and/or transmigrate into the cerebral ventricles to serve a variety of possible immune functions. Studies to better understand the diverse functions of these cells are likely to reveal new insights that foster the development of novel pharmacological and macrophage-based interventions for the control of CNS immune responses.
cerebrospinal fluid; pleocytosis; monocytes; macrophages; dendritic cells; T cells; inflammation; adhesion molecules; chemokines
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) is an important cause of endemic and epidemic diarrheal disease worldwide. Although not classically considered an inflammatory pathogen in the style of Shigella and Salmonella species, clinical data from patients suggests that inflammatory responses may play an important role during EAEC disease. However, the specific role of inflammation during EAEC pathogenesis has not been investigated in detail. To better understand how EAEC may induce inflammation, we have focused our attention on the intimate interactions between EAEC and the host epithelium and the subsequent induction of host cell signaling events leading to innate immune responses. Here, we discuss our recent findings on the signaling pathway by which EAEC promotes transepithelial migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), the role of aggregative adherence fimbriae in triggering this event and the implementation of human intestinal xenografts in immunodeficient mice for studying EAEC pathogenesis in vivo. Our findings suggest that EAEC shares conserved mechanisms of inducing PMN recruitment with other intestinal pathogens, providing new insight into the potential pathological consequences of EAEC-induced inflammation.
enteroaggregative Escherichia coli; inflammation; 12-lipoxygenase; aggregative adherence fimbriae; human intestinal xenografts
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is critically important for many intestinal functions such as peristalsis and secretion. Defects in the embryonic formation of the ENS cause Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) or megacolon, a severe birth defect that affects approximately 1 in 5,000 newborns. One of the least understood aspects of ENS development are the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control chain migration of the ENS cells during their migration into and along the embryonic gut. We recently reported a mouse model of HSCR in which mutant embryos carrying a hypomorphic allele of the Phactr4 gene show an embryonic gastrointestinal defect due to loss of enteric neurons in the colon. We found that Phactr4 modulates integrin signaling and cofilin activity to coordinate the forces that drive enteric neural crest cell (ENCC) migration in the mammalian embryo. In this extra view, we briefly summarize the current knowledge on integrin signaling in ENCC migration and introduce the Phactr protein family. Employing the ENS as a model, we shed some light on the mechanisms by which Phactr4 regulates integrin signaling and controls the cell polarity required for directional ENCC migration in the mouse developing gut.
PP1; Phactr4; directional migration; enteric nervous system; β1 integrin
Prostate cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer and the sixth leading cause of death from cancer in men. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process by which cancer cells invade and migrate, and is characterized by loss of cell-cell adhesion molecules such as E-cadherin and increased expression of mesenchymal proteins such as vimentin; EMT is also associated with resistance to therapy. Snail, a master regulator of EMT, has been extensively studied and reported in cancers such as breast and colon; however, its role in prostate cancer is not as widely reported. The purpose of this review is to put together recent facts that summarize Snail signaling in human prostate cancer. Snail is overexpressed in prostate cancer and its expression and activity is controlled via phosphorylation and growth factor signaling. Snail is involved in its canonical role of inducing EMT in prostate cancer cells; however, it plays a role in non-canonical pathways that do not involve EMT such regulation of bone turnover and neuroendocrine differentiation. Thus, studies indicate that Snail signaling contributes to prostate cancer progression and metastasis and therapeutic targeting of Snail in prostate cancer holds promise in �future.
Snail; prostate cancer; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; metastasis; therapy; cell adhesion; neuroendocrine differentiation; bone turnover
Profilin-1 (Pfn1) is a ubiquitously expressed actin-monomer binding protein that has been linked to many cellular activities ranging from control of actin polymerization to gene transcription. Traditionally, Pfn1 has been considered to be an essential control element for actin polymerization and cell migration. Seemingly contrasting this view, a few recent studies have shown evidence of an inhibitory action of Pfn1 on motility of certain types of carcinoma cells. In this review, we summarize biochemistry and functional aspects of Pfn1 in normal cells and bring in newly emerged action of Pfn1 in cancer cells that may explain its context-specific role in cell migration.
Ena/VASP; cancer; cell motility; lamellipodium; profilin
Phagocytosis is an important component of innate immunity that contributes to the eradication of infectious microorganisms; however, successful bacterial pathogens often evade different aspects of host immune responses. A common bacterial evasion strategy entails the production of toxins and/or effectors that disrupt normal host cell processes and because of their importance Rho-family GTPases are often targeted. Burkholderia cenocepacia, an opportunistic pathogen that has a propensity to infect cystic fibrosis patients, is an example of a pathogenic bacterium that has only recently been shown to disrupt Rho GTPase function in professional phagocytes. More specifically, B. cenocepacia disrupts Rac and Cdc42 seemingly through perturbation of guanine nucleotide exchange factor function. Inactivation of Rac, Cdc42 and conceivably other Rho GTPases seriously compromises phagocyte function.
phagocytosis; macrophage; innate immunity; bacterial pathogenesis; guanine nucleotide exchange factor; type VI secretion
Cell adhesion to DPP substrate is an integrin-mediated event and involves integrin binding, clustering, assembly of focal adhesion complexes and cytoskeletal organization. Cells perceive the DPP substrate through the integrin receptor αvβ1 and bind the actin cytoskeleton to the membrane via focal adhesion sites. The cells respond to this proteinaceous rigid substrate by activating the mechano-chemical signaling events leading to cell spreading and formation of focal adhesions. Focal adhesions, which are sites of integrin binding to the extracellular matrix, form in the leading edge during cell migration. These sites are dynamic and the supramolecular assemblies contain structural and signaling components regulating cell functions. In our study, we present a scenario that integrins utilize the actin network to permit activation of the mitogen-activated kinase modules to transduce signals through the cytoplasm to the nucleus in the presence of DPP. We specifically demonstrate that ERK-mediated transcriptional events impinge on activation of transcription factors leading to cell differentiation.
DPP; integrin; FAK; extracellular matrix; adhesion; MAP kinase
In the past year, three papers have been published exploring the role of the matricellular protein periostin in excisional skin repair. These papers all show a delay in wound closure and the kinetics of this delay are strikingly similar across the three reports. The similarities between these papers end, however, when each investigates the mechanism through which periostin influences skin repair. Three proposed mechanisms have been identified: (1) myofibroblast differentiation, (2) keratinocyte proliferation and (3) fibroblast proliferation and migration. The aim of this commentary is to compare and contrast the three studies performed to date in an attempt to decipher the role of periostin in the repair of full-thickness skin wounds.
periostin; skin repair; proliferation; migration; myofibroblast
Cancer cell dissemination away from the primary tumor and their ability to form metastases remain the major causes of death from cancer. Understanding the molecular mechanisms triggering this event could lead to the design of new cancer treatments. The establishment and the maintenance of tissue architecture depend on the coordination of cell behavior within this tissue. Cell-cell interactions must form adhesive structures between neighboring cells while remaining highly dynamic to allow and control tissue renewal or remodeling. Among intercellular junctions, cadherin-based adherens junctions mediate strong physical interactions and transmit information from the cell microenvironment to the cytoplasm. Disruption of these cell-cell contacts perturbs the polarity of epithelial tissues leading to their disorganization and ultimately to aggressive carcinomas. In non-epithelial tissues, the role of cadherins in the development of cancer is still debated. We recently found that downregulation of N-cadherin in malignant glioma—the most frequent primary brain tumor—results in cell polarization defects leading to abnormal motile behavior with increased cell speed and decreased persistence in directionality. Re-expression of N-cadherin in glioma cells restores cell polarity and limits glioma cell migration, providing a potential therapeutic tool for diffuse glioma.
cadherin; adherens junctions; migration; invasion; polarity; astrocyte; glioma; glioblastoma
Dendritic spine morphology is modulated by protein kinase p38, a mitogen-activated protein (MAPK), in the hippocampus. Protein p38MAPK is a substrate of wip1, a protein phosphatase. The role of wip1 in the central nervous system (CNS) has never been explored. Here, we report a novel function of wip1 in dendritic spine morphology and memory processes. Wip1 deficiency decreases dendritic spine size and density in pyramidal neurons of the hippocampal CA1 region. Simultaneously, impairments in object recognition tasks and contextual memory occur in wip1 deficient mice, but are reversed in wip1/p38 double mutant mice. Thus, our findings demonstrate that wip1 modulates dendritic morphology and memory processes through the p38MAPK signaling pathway. In addition to the well-characterized role of the wip1/p38MAPK in cell death and differentiation, we revealed the novel contribution of wip1 to cognition and dendritic spine morphology, which may suggest new approaches to treating neurodegenerative disorders.
Wip1 phosphatase; p38MAPK; memory; dendritic spine morphology; hippocampus; signaling pathway
Tumors contain a vastly complicated cellular network that relies on local communication to execute malignant programs. The molecular cues that are involved in cell-cell adhesion orchestrate large-scale tumor behaviors such as proliferation and invasion. We have recently begun to appreciate that many tumors contain a high degree of cellular heterogeneity and are organized in a cellular hierarchy, with a cancer stem cell (CSC) population identified at the apex in multiple cancer types. CSCs reside in unique microenvironments or niches that are responsible for directing their behavior through cellular interactions between CSCs and stromal cells, generating a malignant social network. Identifying cell-cell adhesion mechanisms in this network has implications for the basic understanding of tumorigenesis and the development of more effective therapies. In this review, we will discuss our current understanding of cell-cell adhesion mechanisms used by CSCs and how these local interactions have global consequences for tumor biology.
cancer stem cell; cell adhesion; cell-cell communication
There is general agreement that many cancers are associated with aberrant phosphotyrosine signaling, which can be caused by the inappropriate activities of tyrosine kinases or tyrosine phosphatases. Furthermore, incorrect activation of signaling pathways has been often linked to changes in adhesion events mediated by cell surface receptors. Among these receptors, receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs) both antagonize tyrosine kinases as well as engage extracellular ligands. A recent wealth of data on this intriguing family indicates that its members can fulfill either tumor suppressing or oncogenic roles. The interpretation of these results at a molecular level has been greatly facilitated by the recent availability of structural information on the extra- and intracellular regions of RPTPs. These structures provide a molecular framework to understand how alterations in extracellular interactions can inactivate RPTPs in cancers or why the overexpression of certain RPTPs may also participate in tumor progression.
cell adhesion; phosphorylation; phosphatase; inactivating somatic mutations; tumor suppressor; oncogene; receptor overexpression; crystal structure; receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase
Adherens junctions (AJs) are essential for the maintenance of epithelial homeostasis and a key factor in the regulation of cell migration and tumor progression. AJs maintain cell-cell adhesion by linking transmembrane proteins to the actin cytoskeleton. Additionally, they participate in recruitment of signaling receptors and cytoplasmic proteins to the membrane. During cellular invasion or migration, AJs are dynamically regulated and their composition modified to initiate changes in signaling pathways and cytoskeleton organization involved in cellular motility. Loss of E-cadherin, a key component of AJs, is characteristic of epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) and is associated with tumor cell invasion. We will review recent findings describing novel mechanisms involved in E-cadherin transcription regulation, endocytosis of E-cadherin and signaling associated with loss of AJs as well as reorganization of the AJ during EMT.
adherens junctions; transcriptional repressors; DNA methylation; endocytosis; mechanotransduction
The L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) plays a major role in the development of the nervous system and in the malignancy of human tumors. In terms of biological function, L1CAM comes along in two different flavors: (1) a static function as a cell adhesion molecule that acts as a glue between cells; (2) a motility promoting function that drives cell migration during neural development and supports metastasis of human cancers. Important factors that contribute to the switch in the functional mode of L1CAM are: (1) the cleavage from the cell surface by membrane proximal proteolysis and (2) the ability to change binding partners and engage in L1CAM-integrin binding. Recent studies have shown that the cleavage of L1CAM by metalloproteinases and the binding of L1CAM to integrins via its RGD-motif in the sixth Ig-domain activate signaling pathways distinct from the ones elicited by homophilic binding. Here we highlight important features of L1CAM proteolysis and the signaling of L1CAM via integrin engagement. The novel insights into L1CAM downstream signaling and its regulation during tumor progression and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) will lead to a better understanding of the dualistic role of L1CAM as a cell adhesion and/or motility promoting cell surface molecule.
ADAM10; ADAM17; EMT; ERM proteins; NFκB; cell adhesion; integrins; regulated intramembrane proteolysis; signaling
A compact genome and a tiny brain make Drosophila the prime model to understand the neural substrate of behavior. The neurogenetic efforts to reveal neural circuits underlying Drosophila vision started about half a century ago, and now the field is booming with sophisticated genetic tools, rich behavioral assays, and importantly, a greater number of scientists joining from different backgrounds. This review will briefly cover the structural anatomy of the Drosophila visual system, the animal’s visual behaviors, the genes involved in assembling these circuits, the new and powerful techniques, and the challenges ahead for ultimately identifying the general principles of biological computation in the brain.
A typical brain utilizes a great many compact neural circuits to collect and process information from the internal biological and external environmental worlds and generates motor commands for observable behaviors. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, despite of its miniature body and tiny brain, can survive in almost any corner of the world.1 It can find food, court mate, fight rival conspecific, avoid predators, and amazingly fly without crashing into trees. Drosophila vision and its underlying neuronal machinery has been a key research model for at least half century for neurogeneticists.2 Given the efforts invested on the visual system, this animal model is likely to offer the first full understanding of how visual information is computed by a multi-cellular organism. Furthermore, research in Drosophila has revealed many genes that play crucial roles in the formation of functional brains across species. The architectural similarities between the visual systems of Drosophila and vertebrate at the molecular, cellular, and network levels suggest new principles discovered at the circuit level on the relationship between neurons and behavior in Drosophila shall also contribute greatly to our understanding of the general principles for how bigger brains work.3 I start with the anatomy of Drosophila visual system, which surprisingly still contains many uncharted areas.
Drosophila; vision; neural circuits; behavior; neurogenetics
Classical cadherins play a crucial role in establishing intercellular adhesion, regulating cortical tension, and maintaining mechanical coupling between cells. The mechanosensitive regulation of intercellular adhesion strengthening depends on the recruitment of adhesion complexes at adhesion sites and their anchoring to the actin cytoskeleton. Thus, the molecular mechanisms coupling cadherin-associated complexes to the actin cytoskeleton are actively being studied, with a particular focus on α-catenin and vinculin. We have recently addressed the role of these proteins by analyzing the consequences of their depletion and the expression of α-catenin mutants in the formation and strengthening of cadherin-mediated adhesions. We have used the dual pipette assay to measure the forces required to separate cell doublets formed in suspension. In this commentary, we briefly summarize the current knowledge on the role of α-catenin and vinculin in cadherin-actin cytoskeletal interactions. These data shed light on the tension-dependent contribution of α-catenin and vinculin in a mechanoresponsive complex that promotes the connection between cadherin and the actin cytoskeleton and their requirement in the development of adhesion strengthening.
adhesion; cadherin; catenin; vinculin; mechanosensing; strength; force; cytoskeleton
Substrate-attached materials (SAMs) are cellular feet that remain on substrates after the treatment of adherent cells with EGTA. SAMs are thought to contain cell adhesion machineries, but their biochemical properties have not been addressed in detail. To gain insight into the molecular mechanisms operating in cell adhesions, we comprehensively identified the protein components of SAMs by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry, followed by immunoblot analysis. We found that the tetraspanins CD9, CD81, and CD151 were enriched in SAMs along with other transmembrane proteins that are known to associate with tetraspanins. Notably, integrins were detected in SAMs, but the components of focal adhesions were scarcely detected. These observations are reminiscent of the “footprints” that remain on substrates when the retraction fibers at the rear of migrating cells are released, because such footprints have been reported to contain tetraspanins and integrins but not focal adhesion proteins. In support of this hypothesis, the formation of SAMs was attenuated by inhibitors of ROCK, myosin II and dynamin, all of which are known to participate in rear-end retraction in migrating cells. Furthermore, SAMs left on collagen-coated substrates were found by electron microscopy to be fewer and thinner than those on laminin-coated substrates, reflecting the thin and fragile retraction fibers of cells migrating on collagen. Collectively, these results indicate that SAMs closely resemble the footprints and retraction fibers of migrating cells in their protein components, and that they are yielded by similar mechanisms.
focal adhesion; integrin; CD9; ganglioside; cell migration; proteomics
The peripheral axons of vertebrate tactile somatosensory neurons travel long distances from ganglia just outside the central nervous system to the skin. Once in the skin these axons form elaborate terminals whose organization must be regionally patterned to detect and accurately localize different kinds of touch stimuli. This review describes key studies that identified choice points for somatosensory axon growth cones and the extrinsic molecular cues that function at each of those steps. While much has been learned in the past 20 years about the guidance of these axons, there is still much to be learned about how the peripheral axons of different kinds of somatosensory neurons adopt different trajectories and form specific terminal structures.
somatosensation; trigeminal; dorsal root ganglia; Rohon-Beard; peripheral axon; axon guidance; neurotrophin; semaphorin; Slit; LAR receptor phosphatase
pericyte; endothelial cell; VEGF; Bcl-w; PDGFRβ; integrin αvβ3
Lipocalin-type prostaglandin D synthase (L-PGDS) is one of the most abundant proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid. Nevertheless, its role in the central nervous system is far from clear. Here, we present evidence that L-PGDS induces glial cell migration and morphological changes in vitro and in vivo. We also identified myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS), heat shock proteins and actin as L-PGDS-binding proteins, demonstrating that MARCKS/Akt/Rho/Jnk pathways are involved in the L-PGDS actions in glia. We further show that the cell migration-promoting activity of L-PGDS is independent of PGD2 production. The results suggest a novel non-enzymatic function of L-PGDS protein in brain inflammation, and may have an impact on glial cell biology and brain pathology related with reactive gliosis. L-PGDS is a potential drug target that can be exploited for therapeutic intervention of glia-driven neuroinflammation and related diseases.
glia; cell migration; morphology; L-PGDS; MARCKS; neuroinflammation; cerebrospinal fluid
Recently, we monitored green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing monocytes after injection at the entorhinal cortex lesion (ECL) site in mice. We followed their migration out of the central nervous system (CNS) along olfactory nerve fibers penetrating the lamina cribrosa, within the nasal mucosa, and their subsequent appearance within the deep cervical lymph nodes (CLN), with numbers peaking at day 7. This is the same route activated T cells use for reaching the CLN, as we have shown before. Interestingly, GFP cells injected into the brain and subsequently found in the CLN exhibited ramified morphologies, which are typical of microglia and dendritic cells. To gain more insight into immunity and regeneration within the CNS we want to monitor injected monocytes using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after labeling with very small superparamagnetic iron oxide particles (VSOP). Due to their small size, nanoparticles have huge potential for magnetic labeling of different cell populations and their MRI tracking in vivo. So far we have verified that incubation with VSOP particles does not alter their migration pattern after ECL.
monocytes; microglia; cell trafficking; lymph drainage; MRI; nanoparticles
Integrins and their associated proteins are essential components of the cellular machinery that modulates adhesion and migration. In particular, integrin-linked kinase (ILK), which binds to the cytoplasmic tail of β1 integrins, is required for migration in a variety of cell types. We previously identified engulfment and motility 2 (ELMO2) as an ILK-binding protein in epidermal keratinocytes. Recently, we investigated the biological role of the ILK/ELMO2 complexes, and found that they exist in the cytoplasm. ILK/ELMO2 species are recruited by active RhoG to the plasma membrane, where they induce Rac1 activation and formation of lamellipodia at the leading edge of migrating cells. A large number of growth factors and cytokines induce keratinocyte migration. However, we found that formation of RhoG/ELMO2/ILK complexes occurs selectively upon stimulation by epidermal growth factor, but not by transforming growth factor-β1 or keratinocyte growth factor. Herein we discuss the relevance of these complexes to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in cell migration, as well as their potential functions in morphogenesis and tissue regeneration following injury.
cell migration; ILK; keratinocyte; epidermal growth factor; integrin-linked kinase; ELMO2; Rho GTPases; integrins
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) can be isolated from most adult tissues and hold considerable promise for tissue regenerative therapies. Some of the potential advantages that MSCs have over other adult stem cell types include: (1) their relative ease of isolation, culture and expansion; (2) their immunomodulatory properties; (3) they can provide trophic support to injured tissues; (4) they can be transduced by retroviral vectors at a high efficiency; (5) they have an ability to home to sites of inflammation and injury. Collectively these characteristics suggest that MSCs are attractive vehicles for cell and gene therapy applications. In the current study, we investigated whether transplantation of human adipose-derived MSCs (Ad-MSCs) engineered to overexpress the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-4 was efficacious in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Ad-MSCs transduced with a bicistronic lentiviral vector encoding mouse IL-4 and enhanced green fluorescent protein (Ad-IL4-MSCs) stably expressed, relatively high levels of both transgenes. Importantly the phenotypic and functional attributes of Ad-IL4-MSCs, such as the expression of homing molecules and differentiation capacity, was not altered by the transduction process. Notably, the early administration of Ad-IL4-MSCs in mice with EAE at the time of T-cell priming attenuated clinical disease. This protective effect was associated with a reduction in peripheral MOG-specific T-cell responses and a shift from a pro- to an anti-inflammatory cytokine response. These data suggest that the delivery of Ad-MSCs genetically engineered to express anti-inflammatory cytokines may provide a rational approach to promote immunomodulation and tissue protection in a number of inflammatory and degenerative diseases including multiple sclerosis.
mesenchymal stem cell; multiple sclerosis; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; interleukin-4; gene therapy