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Title: Collagen density modulates triple-negative breast cancer cell metabolism through adhesion-mediated contractility

Extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanical properties upregulate cancer invasion, cell contractility, and focal adhesion formation. Alteration in energy metabolism is a known characteristic of cancer cells (i.e., Warburg effect) and modulates cell invasion. There is little evidence to show if collagen density can alter cancer cell metabolism. We investigated changes in energy metabolism due to collagen density in five breast cell lines by measuring the fluorescence lifetime of NADH. We found that only triple-negative breast cancer cells, MDA-MB231 and MDA-MB468 cells, had an increased population of bound NADH, indicating an oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) signature, as collagen density decreased. When inhibiting ROCK and cell contractility, MDA-MB231 cells on glass shifted from glycolysis (GLY) to OXPHOS, confirming the intricate relationship between mechanosensing and metabolism. MCF10A cells showed less significant changes in metabolism, shifting towards GLY as collagen density decreased. The MCF-7 and T-47D, less invasive breast cancer cells, compared to the MDA-MB231 and MDA-MB468 cells, showed no changes regardless of substrate. In addition, OXPHOS or GLY inhibitors in MDA-MB231 cells showed dramatic shifts from OXPHOS to GLY orvice versa. These results provide an important link between cellular metabolism, contractility, and collagen density in human breast cancer.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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