Long noncoding RNA MALAT1 is dynamically regulated in leader cells during collective cancer invasion

Ninghao Zhu, Mona Ahmed, Yanlin Li, Joseph C. Liao, Pak Kin Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Cancer cells collectively invade using a leader–follower organization, but the regulation of leader cells during this dynamic process is poorly understood. Using a dual double-stranded locked nucleic acid (LNA) nanobiosensor that tracks long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) dynamics in live single cells, we monitored the spatiotemporal distribution of lncRNA during collective cancer invasion. We show that the lncRNA MALAT1 (metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1) is dynamically regulated in the invading fronts of cancer cells and patient-derived spheroids. MALAT1 transcripts exhibit distinct abundance, diffusivity, and distribution between leader and follower cells. MALAT1 expression increases when a cancer cell becomes a leader and decreases when the collective migration process stops. Transient knockdown of MALAT1 prevents the formation of leader cells and abolishes the invasion of cancer cells. Taken together, our single-cell analysis suggests that MALAT1 is dynamically regulated in leader cells during collective cancer invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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