July 25, 2011

They invade...they proliferate...they destroy. It sounds like the tagline for a terrible summer blockbuster starring Samuel L. Jackson and an animated sidekick voiced by one of the Kardashians, but it’s the tagline of something far more sinister and real. I’m talking about tumors. Today’s image is from a paper showing how a membrane protein called caveolin-1 can support tumor invasion.

Caveolin-1 is a membrane protein and a major component of caveolae, which are small membrane invaginations that participate in endocytosis. A recent paper finds that caveolin-1 also functions in cell elongation, migration, and invasion by remodeling a cell’s microenvironment (aka “stroma”). Specifically, Goetz and colleagues found that caveolin-1 affects stromal architecture by regulating the activity of Rho GTPase, a signaling protein frequently involved in actin dynamics. This caveolin-1-inspired remodeling of the stroma is significant for tumor biology, too—the stiffness, contractility, and general architecture of a tumor’s stroma can affect its growth, invasion, and metastasis. In the images above, tumor cells (green) were cultured in a 3D-gels with fibroblast cells (red) that expressed caveolin-1 (top row) or did not express caveolin-1(bottom row). When tumor cells were surrounded by caveolin-1-expressing cells, they were able to invade further into the gel.

ResearchBlogging.orgGoetz, J., Minguet, S., Navarro-Lérida, I., Lazcano, J., Samaniego, R., Calvo, E., Tello, M., Osteso-Ibáñez, T., Pellinen, T., Echarri, A., Cerezo, A., Klein-Szanto, A., Garcia, R., Keely, P., Sánchez-Mateos, P., Cukierman, E., & Del Pozo, M. (2011). Biomechanical Remodeling of the Microenvironment by Stromal Caveolin-1 Favors Tumor Invasion and Metastasis Cell, 146 (1), 148-163 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.05.040
Copyright ©2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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