Systemic metastasis is the dissemination of cancer cells from the primary tumor to distant organs and is the primary cause of death in cancer patients. How do cancer cells leave the primary tumor mass? The ability of the tumor cells to form different types of actin-rich protrusions including invasive protrusions (invadopodia) and locomotory protrusions (lamellipodia [2D] or pseudopodia [3D]), facilitate the invasion and dissemination of the tumor cells. Rho-family of p21 small GTPases plays a direct role in regulating the actin dynamics in these intracellular compartments. Recent studies have shown that the signaling molecules including RhoC/p190RhoGEF/p190RhoGAP acts as a “molecular compass” in order to direct the spatial and temporal dynamics of the formation of these invasive and locomotory protrusions leading to efficient invasion.
RhoC; Invadopodia; lamellipodia; chemotaxis; p190RhoGEF; p190RhoGAP; cofilin; actin cytoskeleton; RhoA
Podosomes are small, circular adhesions formed by cells such as osteoclasts, macrophages, dendritic cells, and endothelial cells. They comprise a protrusive actin core module and an adhesive ring module composed of integrins and cytoskeletal adaptor proteins such as vinculin and talin. Furthermore, podosomes are associated with an actin network and often organize into large clusters. Recent results from our laboratory and others have shed new light on podosome structure and dynamics, suggesting a revision of the classical “core-ring” model. Also, these studies demonstrate that the adhesive and protrusive module are functionally linked by the actin network likely facilitating mechanotransduction as well as providing feedback between these two modules. In this commentary, we briefly summarize these recent advances with respect to the knowledge on podosome structure and discuss force distribution mechanisms within podosomes and their emerging role in mechanotransduction.
actin; cell adhesion; invadopodia; mechanotransduction; podosome; tension
Invadopodia are dynamic protrusions in motile tumor cells whose function is to degrade extracellular matrix so that cells can enter into new environments. Invadopodia are specifically identified by microscopy as proteolytic invasive protrusions containing TKS5 and cortactin. The increasing complexity in models for the study of invadopodia, including engineered 3D environments, explants, or animal models in vivo, entails a higher level of microenvironment complexity as well as cancer cell heterogeneity. Such experimental setups are rich in information and offer the possibility of contextualizing invadopodia and other motility-related structures. That is, they hold the promise of revealing more realistic microenvironmental conditions under which the invadopodium assembles and functions or in which tumor cells switch to a different cellular phenotype (focal adhesion, lamellipodia, proliferation, and apoptosis). For such an effort, we need a systemic approach to microscopy, which will integrate information from multiple modalities. While the individual technologies needed to achieve this are mostly available, data integration and standardization is not a trivial process. In a systems microscopy approach, microscopy is used to extract information on cell phenotypes and the microenvironment while -omics technologies assess profiles of cancer cell and microenvironment genetic, transcription, translation, and protein makeups. Data are classified and linked via in silico modeling (including statistical and mathematical models and bioinformatics). Computational considerations create predictions to be validated experimentally by perturbing the system through use of genetic manipulations and molecular biology. With such a holistic approach, a deeper understanding of function of invadopodia in vivo will be reached, opening the potential for personalized diagnostics and therapies.
metastasis; invadopodia; intravasation; microenvironment; motility; invasion; microscopy; systems microscopy; machine learning; mathematical modeling; holistic approach
Migration of macrophages is a key process for a variety of physiological functions, such as pathogen clearance or tissue homeostasis. However, it can also be part of pathological scenarios, as in the case of tumor-associated macrophages. This review presents an overview of the different migration modes macrophages can adopt, depending on the physical and chemical properties of specific environments, and the constraints they impose upon cells. We discuss the importance of these environmental and also of cellular parameters, as well as their relative impact on macrophage migration and on the formation of matrix-lytic podosomes in 2D and 3D. Moreover, we present an overview of routinely used and also newly developed assays for the study of macrophage migration in both 2D and 3D contexts, their respective advantages and limitations, and also their potential to reliably mimic in vivo situations.
cell migration; extracellular matrix; macrophages; MMP; podosomes; proteases
Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for physiological bone resorption. A specific organization of their most prominent cytoskeletal structures, podosomes, is crucial for the degradation of mineralized bone matrix. Each podosome is constituted of an F-actin-enriched central core surrounded by a loose F-actin network, called the podosome cloud. In addition to intrinsic actin dynamics, podosomes are defined by their adhesion to the extracellular matrix, mainly via core-linking CD44 and cloud-linking integrins. These properties allow podosomes to collectively evolve into different patterns implicated in migration and bone resorption. Indeed, to resorb bone, osteoclasts polarize, actively secrete protons, and proteases into the resorption pit where these molecules are confined by a podosome-containing sealing zone. Here, we review recent advancements on podosome structure and regulatory pathways in osteoclasts. We also discuss the distinct functions of different podosome patterns during the lifespan of a single osteoclast.
osteoclasts; podosomes; sealing zone; actin; bone degradation; migration; actin rings
Cell invasion of the extracellular matrix is prerequisite to cross tissue migration of tumor cells in cancer metastasis, and vascular smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis. The tumor suppressor p53, better known for its roles in the regulation of cell cycle and apoptosis, has ignited much interest in its function as a suppressor of cell migration and invasion. How p53 and its gain-of-function mutants regulate cell invasion remains a puzzle and a challenge for future studies. In recent years, podosomes and invadopodia have also gained center stage status as veritable apparatus specialized in cell invasion. It is not clear, however, whether p53 regulates cell invasion through podosomes and invadopodia. In this review, evidence supporting a negative role of p53 in podosomes formation in vascular smooth muscle cells will be surveyed, and signaling nodes that may mediate this regulation in other cell types will be explored.
p53; podosomes; invadopodia; cell invasion; cell migration; cancer; atherosclerosis; smooth muscle cells
Invadopodia are actin-based protrusions of the plasma membrane that penetrate into the extracellular matrix (ECM), and enzymatically degrade it. Invadopodia and podosomes, often referred to, collectively, as “invadosomes,” are actin-based membrane protrusions that facilitate matrix remodeling and cell invasion across tissues, processes that occur under specific physiological conditions such as bone remodeling, as well as under pathological states such as bone, immune disorders, and cancer metastasis. In this review, we specifically focus on the functional architecture of invadopodia in cancer cells; we discuss here three functional domains of invadopodia responsible for the metalloproteinase-based degradation of the ECM, the cytoskeleton-based mechanical penetration into the matrix, and the integrin adhesome-based adhesion to the ECM. We will describe the structural and molecular organization of each domain and the cross-talk between them during the invasion process.
invadopodia; cancer metastasis; cell adhesion; invasion; metalloproteinases; cytoskeleton
The tumor microenvironment consists of stromal cells, extracellular matrix (ECM), and signaling molecules that communicate with cancer cells. As tumors grow and develop, the tumor microenvironment changes. In addition, the tumor microenvironment is not only influenced by signals from tumor cells, but also stromal components contribute to tumor progression and metastasis by affecting cancer cell function. One of the mechanisms that cancer cells use to invade and metastasize is mediated by actin-rich, proteolytic structures called invadopodia. Here, we discuss how signals from the tumor environment, including growth factors, hypoxia, pH, metabolism, and stromal cell interactions, affect the formation and function of invadopodia to regulate cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Understanding how the tumor microenvironment affects invadopodia biology could aid in the development of effective therapeutics to target cancer cell invasion and metastasis.
invadopodia; podosomes; tumor microenvironment; hypoxia; metastasis
Basement membranes are thin sheets of self-assembled extracellular matrices that are essential for embryonic development and for the homeostasis of adult tissues. They play a role in structuring, protecting, polarizing, and compartmentalizing cells, as well as in supplying them with growth factors. All basement membranes are built from laminin and collagen IV networks stabilized by nidogen/perlecan bridges. The precise composition of basement membranes, however, varies between different tissues. Even though basement membranes represent physical barriers that delimit different tissues, they are breached in many physiological or pathological processes, including development, the immune response, and tumor invasion. Here, we provide a brief overview of the molecular composition of basement membranes and the process of their assembly. We will then illustrate the heterogeneity of basement membranes using two examples, the epithelial basement membrane in the gut and the vascular basement membrane. Finally, we examine the different strategies cells use to breach the basement membrane.
basement membrane; laminin; collagen; invadopodia; invasion
Over 20 years ago, protrusive, F-actin-based membrane structures, termed invadopodia, were identified in highly metastatic cancer cell lines. Invadopodia penetrate artificial or explanted extracellular matrices in 2D culture conditions and have been hypothesized to facilitate the migration of cancer cells through basement membrane, a thin, dense, barrier-like matrix surrounding most tissues. Despite intensive study, the identification of invadopodia in vivo has remained elusive and until now their possible roles during invasion or even existence have remained unclear. Studies in remarkably different cellular contexts—mouse tumor models, zebrafish intestinal epithelia, and C. elegans organogenesis—have recently identified invadopodia structures associated with basement membrane invasion. These studies are providing the first in vivo insight into the regulation, function, and role of these fascinating subcellular devices with critical importance to both development and human disease.
basement membrane; cancer; cell invasion; development; in vivo; invadopodia
Invadosomes have two main functions represented by their actin-rich and adhesive components and their polarized secretory pathways controlling the delivery of metalloproteases necessary to degrade extracellular matrix (ECM). Invadosomes include invadopodia and podosomes, which have subtle differences in molecular composition, dynamics, and structure. These differences could reflect different stages of invadosome maturation. This review will outline current knowledge on the coupling between the acto-adhesive machinery and the ECM degradation activity in invadosome diversity. Multiple works support that these two functions are not automatically linked but seem to be finely regulated to allow different functions of invadosomes. We will explore the paradigmatic aspect of invadosomes, which are able to interact with ECM to degrade it so as to better control their own dynamics. Understanding the fine-tuning between these two functions could serve to understand the link between the different types of invadosomes from invadopodia to podosomes.
dynamics; invadopodia; invadosome; invasion; podosomes
Invadosomes are actin-based structures involved in extracellular-matrix degradation. Invadosomes, either known as podosomes or invadopodia, are found in an increasing number of cell types. Moreover, their overall organization and molecular composition may vary from one cell type to the other. Some are constitutive such as podosomes in hematopoietic cells whereas others are inducible. However, they share the same feature, their ability to interact and to degrade the extracellular matrix. Based on the literature and our own experiments, the aim of this study was to establish a minimal molecular definition of active invadosomes. We first highlighted that Cdc42 is the key RhoGTPase involved in invadosome formation in all described models. Using different cellular models, such as NIH-3T3, HeLa, and endothelial cells, we demonstrated that overexpression of an active form of Cdc42 is sufficient to form invadosome actin cores. Therefore, active Cdc42 must be considered not only as an inducer of filopodia, but also as an inducer of invadosomes. Depending on the expression level of Tks5, these Cdc42-dependent actin cores were endowed or not with a proteolytic activity. In fact, Tks5 overexpression rescued this activity in Tks5 low expressing cells. We thus described the adaptor protein Tks5 as a major actor of the invadosome degradation function. Surprisingly, we found that Src kinases are not always required for invadosome formation and function. These data suggest that even if Src family members are the principal kinases involved in the majority of invadosomes, it cannot be considered as a common element for all invadosome structures. We thus define a minimal and universal molecular signature of invadosome that includes Cdc42 activity and Tks5 presence in order to drive the actin machinery and the proteolytic activity of these invasive structures.
invadosomes; Cdc42; Tks5; Src; actin cytoskeleton; invasion
The small G-protein Rap1 plays an important role in the regulation of endothelial barrier function, a process controlled largely by cell–cell adhesions and their connection to the actin cytoskeleton. During the various stages of barrier dynamics, different guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) control Rap1 activity, indicating that Rap1 integrates multiple input signals. Once activated, Rap1 induces numerous signaling cascades, together responsible for the increased endothelial barrier function. Most notably, Rap1 activation results in the inhibition of Rho to decrease radial stress fibers and the activation of Cdc42 to increase junctional actin. This implies that Rap regulates endothelial barrier function by dual control of cytoskeletal tension. The molecular details of the signaling pathways are becoming to be elucidated.
cdc42; cytoskeletal tension; endothelial barrier function; epac1; krit1; radil; rap1; rasip1; rho
Within blood vessels, endothelial cell–cell and cell–matrix adhesions are crucial to preserve barrier function, and these adhesions are tightly controlled during vascular development, angiogenesis, and transendothelial migration of inflammatory cells. Endothelial cellular signaling that occurs via the family of Rho GTPases coordinates these cell adhesion structures through cytoskeletal remodelling. In turn, Rho GTPases are regulated by GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) and guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs). To understand how endothelial cells initiate changes in the activity of Rho GTPases, and thereby regulate cell adhesion, we will discuss the role of Rho GAPs and GEFs in vascular biology. Many potentially important Rho regulators have not been studied in detail in endothelial cells. We therefore will first overview which GAPs and GEFs are highly expressed in endothelium, based on comparative gene expression analysis of human endothelial cells compared with other tissue cell types. Subsequently, we discuss the relevance of Rho GAPs and GEFs for endothelial cell adhesion in vascular homeostasis and disease.
Cdc42; Rac; Rho GTPase; VE-cadherin; angiogenesis; inflammation; integrin
Endothelial adherens junctions are critical for physiological and pathological processes such as differentiation, maintenance of entire monolayer integrity, and the remodeling. The endothelial-specific VE-cadherin/catenin complex provides the backbone of adherens junctions and acts in close interaction with actin filaments and actin/myosin-mediated contractility to fulfill the junction demands. The functional connection between the cadherin/catenin complex and actin filaments might be either directly through α-catenins, or indirectly e.g., via linker proteins such as vinculin, p120ctn, α-actinin, or EPLIN. However, both junction integrity and dynamic remodeling have to be contemporarily coordinated. The actin-related protein complex ARP2/3 and its activating molecules, such as N-WASP and WAVE, have been shown to regulate the lammellipodia-mediated formation of cell junctions in both epithelium and endothelium. Recent reports now demonstrate a novel aspect of the ARP2/3 complex and the nucleating-promoting factors in the maintenance of endothelial barrier function and junction remodeling of established endothelial cell junctions. Those mechanisms open novel possibilities; not only in fulfilling physiological demands but obtained information may be of critical importance in pathologies such as wound healing, angiogenesis, inflammation, and cell diapedesis.
endothelium; VE-cadherin; ARP2/3 complex; actin; stress fibers; cortical actin
The vertebrate vasculature is an essential organ network with major roles in health and disease. The establishment of balanced cell–cell adhesion in the endothelium is crucial for the functionality of the vascular system. Furthermore, the correct patterning and integration of vascular endothelial cell–cell adhesion drives the morphogenesis of new vessels, and is thought to couple physical forces with signaling outcomes during development. Here, we review insights into this process that have come from studies in zebrafish. First, we describe mutants in which endothelial adhesion is perturbed, second we describe recent progress using in vivo cell biological approaches that allow the visualization of endothelial cell–cell junctions. These studies underline the profound potential of this model system to dissect in great detail the function of both known and novel regulators of endothelial cell–cell adhesion.
vascular; zebrafish; adhesion; adherens junction; angiogenesis; anastomosis; cadherin; cytoskeleton; transgenic; time-lapse
It is well recognized that a number of proteins present within adhesion complexes perform discrete signaling functions outside these adhesion complexes, including transcriptional control. In this respect, β-catenin is a well-known example of an adhesion protein present both in cadherin complexes and in the nucleus where it regulates the TCF transcription factor. Here we discuss nuclear functions of adhesion complex proteins with a special focus on the CCM-1/KRIT-1 protein, which may turn out to be yet another adhesion complex protein with a second life.
adhesion signaling; CCM1/Krit-1; transcription; nuclear translocation; small GTPases; Rac Rho
The endothelium forms a selective semi-permeable barrier controlling bidirectional transfer between blood vessel and irrigated tissues. This crucial function relies on the dynamic architecture of endothelial cell–cell junctions, and in particular, VE-cadherin-mediated contacts. VE-cadherin indeed chiefly organizes the opening and closing of the endothelial barrier, and is central in permeability changes. In this review, the way VE-cadherin-based contacts are formed and maintained is first presented, including molecular traits of its expression, partners, and signaling. In a second part, the mechanisms by which VE-cadherin adhesion can be disrupted, leading to cell–cell junction weakening and endothelial permeability increase, are described. Overall, the molecular basis for VE-cadherin control of the endothelial barrier function is of high interest for biomedical research, as vascular leakage is observed in many pathological conditions and human diseases.
VE-cadherin; permeability; VEGF; catenins; internalization; phosphorylation; vascular barrier; endothelial cells
The homeostatic function of endothelial cells (EC) is critical for a number of physiological processes including vascular integrity, immunity, and wound healing. Indeed, vascular abnormalities resulting from EC dysfunction contribute to the development and spread of malignancies. The alternative SDF-1/CXCL12 receptor CXCR7 is frequently and specifically highly expressed in tumor-associated vessels. In this study, we investigate whether CXCR7 contributes to vascular dysfunction by specifically examining the effect of CXCR7 expression on EC barrier function and motility. We demonstrate that CXCR7 expression in EC results in redistribution of CD31/PECAM-1 and loss of contact inhibition. Moreover, CXCR7+ EC are deficient in barrier formation. We show that CXCR7-mediated motility has no influence on angiogenesis but contributes to another motile process, the invasion of CXCR7+ EC into ligand-rich niches. These results identify CXCR7 as a novel manipulator of EC barrier function via alteration of PECAM-1 homophilic junctions. As such, aberrant expression of CXCR7 in the vasculature has the potential to disrupt vascular homeostasis and could contribute to vascular dysfunction in cancer systems.
PECAM-1; CXCR7; endothelial cell adhesion; invasion; cancer vascular dysfunction; ECIS
Leukocyte transendothelial migration (TEM) is one of the crucial steps during inflammation. A better understanding of the key molecules that regulate leukocyte extravasation aids to the development of novel therapeutics for treatment of inflammation-based diseases, such as atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 are known as central mediators of TEM. Clustering of these molecules by their leukocytic integrins initiates the activation of several signaling pathways within the endothelium, including a rise in intracellular Ca2+, activation of several kinase cascades, and the activation of Rho-GTPases. Activation of Rho-GTPases has been shown to control adhesion molecule clustering and the formation of apical membrane protrusions that embrace adherent leukocytes during TEM. Here, we discuss the potential regulatory mechanisms of leukocyte extravasation from an endothelial point of view, with specific focus on the role of the Rho-GTPases.
GTPase; Rho-GEF; signaling; extravasation; diapedesis; transmigration
The ability of blood vessels to sense and respond to stimuli such as fluid flow, shear stress, and trafficking of immune cells is critical to the proper function of the vascular system. Endothelial cells constantly remodel their cell–cell junctions and the underlying cytoskeletal network in response to these exogenous signals. This remodeling, which depends on regulation of the linkage between actin and integral junction proteins, is controlled by a complex signaling network consisting of small G proteins and their various downstream effectors. In this commentary, we summarize recent developments in understanding the small G protein RAP1 and its effector RASIP1 as critical mediators of endothelial junction stabilization, and the relationship between RAP1 effectors and modulation of different subsets of endothelial junctions.
Rasip1; Rap1; Epac1; effectors; angiogenesis; vasculogenesis; junctions; VE-cadherin; endothelial cells
The small GTPase Rab5 has been extensively studied in the context of endocytic trafficking because it is critical in the regulation of early endosome dynamics. In addition to this canonical role, evidence obtained in recent years implicates Rab5 in the regulation of cell migration. This novel role of Rab5 is based not only on an indirect relationship between cell migration and endosomal trafficking as separate processes, but also on the direct regulation of signaling proteins implicated in cell migration. However, the precise mechanisms underlying this connection have remained elusive. Recent studies have shown that the activation of Rab5 is a critical event for maintaining the dynamics of focal adhesions, which is fundamental in regulating not only cell migration but also tumor cell invasion.
Rab5; focal adhesion; cell migration; invasion
Synthetic hydrogels selectively decorated with cell adhesion motifs are rapidly emerging as promising substrates for 3D cell culture. When cells are grown in 3D they experience potentially more physiologically relevant cell–cell interactions and physical cues compared with traditional 2D cell culture on stiff surfaces. A newly developed polymer based on poly(2-oxazoline)s has been used for the first time to control attachment of fibroblast cells and is discussed here for its potential use in 3D cell culture with particular focus on cancer cells toward the ultimate aim of high-throughput screening of anticancer therapies. Advantages and limitations of using poly(2-oxazoline) hydrogels are discussed and compared with more established polymers, especially polyethylene glycol (PEG).
3D cell culture; cancer model; hydrogel; poly(2-oxazoline); synthetic polymer
The successful transformation of uterine spiral arteries by invasion trophoblasts is critical for the formation of the human hemochorial placenta. Placental trophoblast migration and invasion are well regulated by various autocrine/paracrine factors at maternal–fetal interface. Human placental multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (hPMSCs) are a subpopulation of villous mesenchymal cells and have been shown to produce a wide array of soluble cytokines and growth factors including HGF (hepatocyte growth factor). The function of hPMSCs in placental villous microenvironment has not been explored. The interaction between hPMSCs and trophoblasts was proposed in vitro in a recent article. HGF produced by hPMSCs was able to engage c-Met receptor on trophoblast and induced the trophoblast cAMP expression. The cAMP activated PKA, which in turn, signaled to Rap1 and led to integrin β1 activation. The total integrin β1 protein expression by trophoblasts was not affected by HGF stimulation. Hypoxia downregulated HGF expression by hPMSCs. HGF and PKA activator 6-Bnz-cAMP increased trophoblast adhesion and migration that were inhibited by PKA inhibitor H89 or Rap1 siRNA. Thus, hPMSCs-derived paracrine HGF can regulate trophoblast migration during placentation. These findings provided insight revealing at least one mechanism by which hPMSCs implicated in the development of preeclampsia.
Rap1; hepatocyte growth factor; integrin β1; placental multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells; protein kinase A
The vasculature delivers vital support for all other tissues by supplying oxygen and nutrients for growth and by transporting the immune cells that protect and cure them. Therefore, the microvasculature developed a special barrier that is permissive for gasses like oxygen and carbon dioxide, while fluids are kept inside and pathogens are kept out. While maintaining this tight barrier, the vascular wall also allows immune cells to exit at sites of inflammation or damage, a process that is called transmigration. The endothelial cell layer that forms the inner lining of the vasculature is crucial for the vascular barrier function as well as the regulation of transmigration. Therefore, adhesions between vascular endothelial cells are both tight and dynamic and the mechanisms by which they are established, and the mechanisms by which they are controlled have been extensively studied over the past decades. Because of our fundamental strive to understand biology, but also because defects in vascular barrier control cause a variety of clinical problems and treatment strategies may evolve from our detailed understanding of its mechanisms. This special focus issue features a collection of articles that review key components of the development and control of the endothelial cell-cell junction that is central to endothelial barrier function.