Collective cancer cell invasion in 3D tissue: plasticity, interconversions and jamming

Katarina Wolf (Radboud U)

Nov 22. 2022, 09:00 — 09:45

Plasticity of cancer invasion and metastasis depends on the ability of cancer cells to switch between collective and single-cell dissemination, controlled by cadherin-mediated cell–cell junctions. In clinical samples, E-cadherin-expressing and -deficient tumours both invade collectively and metastasize equally, implicating additional mechanisms controlling cell–cell cooperation and individualization. Here, using spatially defined organotypic culture, intravital microscopy of mammary tumours in mice and in silico modelling, we identify cell density regulation by three-dimensional tissue boundaries to physically control collective movement irrespective of the composition and stability of cell–cell junctions. Deregulation of adherens junctions by downregulation of E-cadherin and p120-catenin resulted in a transition from coordinated to uncoordinated collective movement along extracellular boundaries, whereas single-cell escape depended on locally free tissue space. These results indicate that cadherins and extracellular matrix confinement cooperate to determine unjamming transitions and stepwise epithelial fluidization towards, ultimately, cell individualization. Ilina et al., Nat Cell Biol, 2020

Further Information
ESI Boltzmann Lecture Hall
Associated Event:
Mathematical Methods for the Study of Self-organization in the Biological Sciences (Thematic Programme)
Pierre Degond (IMT)
Marie Doumic (Sorbonne U, Paris)
Anna Kicheva (ISTA, Klosterneuburg)
Sara Merino-Aceituno (U of Vienna)
Christian Schmeiser (U of Vienna)