Cancer cell migration through and away from tumors is driven in part by migration along aligned extracellular matrix, a process known as contact guidance (CG). To concurrently study the influence of architectural and mechanical regulators of CG sensing, we developed a set of CG platforms. Using flat and nanotextured substrates with variable architectures and stiffness, we show that CG sensing is regulated by substrate stiffness and define a mechanical role for microtubules and actomyosin-microtubule interactions during CG sensing. Furthermore, we show that Arp2/3-dependent lamellipodia dynamics can compete with aligned protrusions to diminish the CG response and define Arp2/3- and Formins-dependent actin architectures that regulate microtubule-dependent protrusions, which promote the CG response. Thus, our work represents a comprehensive examination of the physical mechanisms influencing CG sensing. Aligned extracellular matrix architectures in tumors direct migration of invasive cancer cells. Tabdanov et al. show that the mechanical properties of aligned extracellular matrix environments influence invasive cell behavior and define a mechanical role for microtubules and actomyosin-microtubule interactions during sensing of contact guidance cues that arise from aligned extracellular matrix.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology