February 12, 2015

Biologists have to wear many hats, and one under-appreciated hat is that of marketing executive. You have to properly name whatever process/protein/structure you just identified so it will be easily remembered. Whoever coined the term “invadopodia” was spot-on….the term is informative, catchy, and ignites my imagination of what it’s like inside a cell. Today’s image is from a fascinating paper on invadopodia formation.

Invadopodia are dynamic protrusions of plasma membrane that locally degrade a cell’s underlying extracellular matrix (ECM). A tumor cell’s invadopodia mediate the invasion of tissue and metastasis. A recent paper describes a study of invadopodia formation within the context of a highly-concentrated collagen matrix, to better mimic the ECM of cancerous tissue. This dense collagen network, Artym and colleagues found, triggers robust invadopodia formation and ECM degradation, in both cancerous and non-cancerous cell lines. This invadopodia formation did not require altered gene or protein expression, but did require phosphorylation of kindlin2, part of a complex integrin regulatory network. As seen in the images, the high-density fibrillary collagen (HDFC, top) network triggered the induction of many more invadopodia (yellow dots) than a gelatin-based matrix (bottom).  

Artym, V., Swatkoski, S., Matsumoto, K., Campbell, C., Petrie, R., Dimitriadis, E., Li, X., Mueller, S., Bugge, T., Gucek, M., & Yamada, K. (2015). Dense fibrillar collagen is a potent inducer of invadopodia via a specific signaling network originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 208 (3), 331-350 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201405099

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