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Creators/Authors contains: "Reinhart-King, Cynthia A."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. The ability of primary tumor cells to invade into adjacent tissues, followed by the formation of local or distant metastasis, is a lethal hallmark of cancer. Recently, locomoting clusters of tumor cells have been identified in numerous cancers and associated with increased invasiveness and metastatic potential. However, how the collective behaviors of cancer cells are coordinated and their contribution to cancer invasion remain unclear. Here we show that collective invasion of breast cancer cells is regulated by the energetic statuses of leader and follower cells. Using a combination of in vitro spheroid and ex vivo organoid invasion models, we found that cancer cells dynamically rearrange leader and follower positions during collective invasion. Cancer cells invade cooperatively in denser collagen matrices by accelerating leader–follower switching thus decreasing leader cell lifetime. Leader cells exhibit higher glucose uptake than follower cells. Moreover, their energy levels, as revealed by the intracellular ATP/ADP ratio, must exceed a threshold to invade. Forward invasion of the leader cell gradually depletes its available energy, eventually leading to leader–follower transition. Our computational model based on intracellular energy homeostasis successfully recapitulated the dependence of leader cell lifetime on collagen density. Experiments further supported model predictions that decreasing the cellular energymore »level by glucose starvation decreases leader cell lifetime whereas increasing the cellular energy level by AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) activation does the opposite. These findings highlight coordinated invasion and its metabolic regulation as potential therapeutic targets of cancer.

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  3. Abstract

    Migrating cells must deform their stiff cell nucleus to move through pores and fibers in tissue. Lamin A/C is known to hinder cell migration by limiting nuclear deformation and passage through confining channels, but its role in nuclear deformation and passage through fibrous environments is less clear. Cell and nuclear migration through discrete, closely spaced, slender obstacles which mimic the mechanical properties of collagen fibers are studied. Nuclei bypass slender obstacles while preserving their overall morphology by deforming around them with deep local invaginations of little resisting force. The obstacles do not impede the nuclear trajectory and do not cause rupture of the nuclear envelope. Nuclei likewise deform around single collagen fibers in cells migrating in 3D collagen gels. In contrast to its limiting role in nuclear passage through confining channels, lamin A/C facilitates nuclear deformation and passage through fibrous environments; nuclei in lamin‐null (Lmna−/−) cells lose their overall morphology and become entangled on the obstacles. Analogous to surface tension‐mediated deformation of a liquid drop, lamin A/C imparts a surface tension on the nucleus that allows nuclear invaginations with little mechanical resistance, preventing nuclear entanglement and allowing nuclear passage through fibrous environments.