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Multiscale dynamics of a heterotypic cancer cell population within a fibrous extracellular matrix

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Abstract

Local cancer cell invasion is a complex process involving many cellular and tissue interactions and is an important prerequisite for metastatic spread, the main cause of cancer related deaths. Occurring over many different temporal and spatial scales, the first stage of local invasion is the secretion of matrix-degrading enzymes (MDEs) and the resulting degradation of the extra-cellular matrix (ECM). This process creates space in which the cells can invade and thus enlarge the tumour. As a tumour increases in malignancy, the cancer cells adopt the ability to mutate into secondary cell subpopulations giving rise to a heterogeneous tumour. This new cell subpopulation often carries higher invasive qualities and permits a quicker spread of the tumour. Building upon the recent multiscale modelling framework for cancer invasion within a fibrous ECM introduced in Shuttleworth and Trucu (2019), in this paper we consider the process of local invasion by a heterotypic tumour consisting of two cancer cell populations mixed with a two-phase ECM. To that end, we address the double feedback link between the tissue-scale cancer dynamics and the cell-scale molecular processes through the development of a two-part modelling framework that crucially incorporates the multiscale dynamic redistribution of oriented fibres occurring within a two-phase extra-cellular matrix and combines this with the multiscale leading edge dynamics exploring key matrix-degrading enzymes molecular processes along the tumour interface that drive the movement of the cancer boundary. The modelling framework will be accompanied by computational results that explore the effects of the underlying fibre network on the overall pattern of cancer invasion.

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In this paper we consider a simple continuous model to describe cell invasion, incorporating the effects of both cell-cell adhesion and cell-matrix adhesion, along with cell growth and proteolysis by cells of the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). We demonstrate that the model is capable of supporting both noninvasive and invasive tumour growth according to the relative strength of cell-cell to cell-matrix adhesion. Specifically, for sufficiently strong cell-matrix adhesion and/or sufficiently weak cell-cell adhesion, degradation of the surrounding ECM accompanied by cell-matrix adhesion pulls the cells into the surrounding ECM. We investigate the criticality of matrix heterogeneity on shaping invasion, demonstrating that a highly heterogeneous ECM can result in a "fingering" of the invasive front, echoing observations in real-life invasion processes ranging from malignant tumour growth to neural crest migration during embryonic development.
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The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a highly organised structure with the capacity to direct cell migration through their tendency to follow matrix fibres, a process known as contact guidance. Amoeboid cell populations migrate in the ECM by making frequent shape changes and have minimal impact on its structure. Mesenchymal cells actively remodel the matrix to generate the space in which they can move. In this paper, these different types of movement are studied through simulation of a continuous transport model. It is shown that the process of contact guidance in a structured ECM can spatially organise cell populations. Furthermore, when combined with ECM remodelling, it can give rise to cellular pattern formation in the form of "cell-chains" or networks without additional environmental cues such as chemoattractants. These results are applied to a simple model for tumour invasion where it is shown that the interactions between invading cells and the ECM structure surrounding the tumour can have a profound impact on the pattern and rate of cell infiltration, including the formation of characteristic "fingering" patterns. The results are further discussed in the context of a variety of relevant processes during embryonic and adult stages.
Article
Detachment of cell-cell adhesion is indispensable for the first step of invasion and metastasis of cancer. This mechanism is frequently associated with the impairment of either E-cadherin expression or function. However, mechanisms of such abnormalities have not been fully elucidated. In this study, we demonstrated that the function of E-cadherin was completely abolished in the human gastric cancer cell line HSC-39, despite the high expression of E-cadherin, because of mutations in one of the E-cadherin-associated cytoplasmic proteins, beta-catenin. Although immunofluorescence staining of HSC-39 cells by using an anti-E-cadherin antibody (HECD-1) revealed the strong and uniform expression of E-cadherin on the cell surface, cell compaction and cell aggregation were not observed in this cell. Western blotting (immunoblotting) using HECD-1 exhibited a 120-kDa band which is equivalent to normal E-cadherin. Northern (RNA) blotting demonstrated a 4.7-kb band, the same as mature E-cadherin mRNA. Immunoprecipitation of metabolically labeled proteins with HECD-1 revealed three bands corresponding to E-cadherin, alpha-catenin, and gamma-catenin and a 79-kDa band which was apparently smaller than that of normal beta-catenin, indicating truncated beta-catenin. The 79-kDa band was immunologically identified as beta-catenin by using immunoblotting with anti-beta-catenin antibodies. Examination of beta-catenin mRNA by the reverse transcriptase-PCR method revealed a transcript which was shorter than that of normal beta-catenin. The sequencing of PCR product for beta-catenin confirmed deletion in 321 bases from nucleotides +82 to +402. Southern blotting of beta-catenin DNA disclosed mutation at the genomic level. Expression vectors of Beta-catenin were introduced into HSC-39 cells by transfection. In the obtained transfectants, E-cadherin-dependent cell-cell adhesiveness was recovered, as revealed by cell compaction, cell aggregation, and immunoflourescence staining. From these results, it was concluded that in HSC-39 cells, impaired cell-cell adhesion is due to mutations in beta-catenin which results in the dysfunction of E-cadherin.
Article
25 years ago, then President Nixon "declared" War on Cancer. In this personal commentary, the war is reviewed. There have been obvious triumphs, for instance in cure of acute lymphocytic leukaemia and other childhood cancers, Hodgkin's disease, and testicular cancer. However, substantial advances in molecular oncology have yet to impinge on mortality statistics. Too many adults still die from common epithelial cancers. Failure to appreciate that local invasion and distant metastasis rather then cell proliferation itself are lethal, obsession with cure of advanced disease rather than prevention of early disease, and neglect of the need to arrest preneoplastic lesions may all have served to make victory elusive.
Article
Background: The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have a role in gastrointestinal malignancy. This role is reviewed, with particular reference to the gelatinase subgroup of enzymes. Methods: All relevant papers derived from the Medline and Enbase databases between 1984 and early 1996 were reviewed. Result and conclusion: There is now strong evidence that MMPs play a major role in tumour invasion and metastasis. The development of MMP inhibitors may lead to important new treatment for the control of malignant disease.
Article
Angiogenesis, the formation of blood vessels from a pre-existing vasculature, is a process whereby capillary sprouts are formed in response to externally supplied chemical stimuli. The sprouts then grow and develop, driven by endothelial cell migration and proliferation, and organise themselves into a dendritic structure. Angiogenesis occurs during embryogenesis, wound healing, arthritis and during the growth of solid tumours. In this paper we present a novel mathematical model which describes the formation of the capillary sprout network in response to chemical stimuli (tumour angiogenesis factors, TAF) supplied by a solid tumour. The model also takes into account endothelial cell-extracellular matrix interactions via the inclusion of fibronectin in the model. The model consists of a system of nonlinear partial differential equations describing the response in space and time of endothelial cells to the TAF and the fibronectin (migration, proliferation, anastomosis, branching). Using the discretized system of partial differential equations, we use a deterministic cellular automata (DCA) model, which enables us to track individual endothelial cells and incorporate branching explicity into the model. Numerical simulations are presented which are in very good qualitative agreement with experimental observations. Certain experiments are suggested which could be used to test the hypotheses of the model and various extensions and developments of the model with particular applications to anti-angiogenesis strategies are discussed.
Article
We wish to thank Terry Schoop of Biomed Arts Associates, San Francisco, for preparation of the figures, Cori Bargmann and Zena Werb for insightful comments on the manuscript, and Normita Santore for editorial assistance. In addition, we are indebted to Joe Harford and Richard Klausner, who allowed us to adapt and expand their depiction of the cell signaling network, and we appreciate suggestions on signaling pathways from Randy Watnick, Brian Elenbas, Bill Lundberg, Dave Morgan, and Henry Bourne. R. A. W. is a Ludwig Foundation and American Cancer Society Professor of Biology. His work has been supported by the Department of the Army and the National Institutes of Health. D. H. acknowledges the support and encouragement of the National Cancer Institute. Editorial policy has rendered the citations illustrative but not comprehensive.
Article
Agonist-evoked, intracellular Ca2+-signalling events are associated with active extrusion of Ca2+ across the plasma membrane, implying a local increase in Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]) at the extracellular face of the cell. The possibility that these external [Ca2+] changes may have specific physiological functions has received little consideration in the past. Here we show that, at physiological ambient [Ca2+], Ca2+ mobilization in one cell produces an extracellular signal that can be detected in nearby cells expressing the extracellular Ca2+-sensing receptor (CaR), a cell-surface receptor for divalent cations with a widespread tissue distribution. The CaR may therefore mediate a universal form of intercellular communication that allows cells to be informed of the Ca2+-signalling status of their neighbours.
Article
E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion is reduced in epithelial tumors, which is thought to be a prerequisite to acquire invasive properties. We observed that several pancreatic carcinoma cell lines with high metastatic potential expressed normal levels of E-cadherin and possessed functional E-cadherin/catenin adhesion complexes. When the cell lines PANC-1, BxPC-3, and PaTu8988s were cultured either on type I or type III collagen, E-cadherin gene expression was repressed, and E-cadherin and catenin protein concentrations were reduced. In contrast, growth on fibronectin and collagen type IV had no influence. Collagen type I- or type III-dependent reduction of E-cadherin expression led to decreased cell-cell adhesion, increased proliferation, and migratory activity as well as morphological transformation. Overexpression of activated c-Src in PANC-1 cells mimicked collagen-induced E-cadherin down-regulation and changed the elevated cell proliferation and migration. Conversely, treatment of cells with the Src-inhibitors PP1 or herbimycin A resulted in complete suppression of collagen type I-induced E-cadherin decrease. Our data demonstrate that specific collagens are able to promote metastatic behavior by down-regulation of E-cadherin gene expression in a Src-kinase-dependent manner. This points toward a novel mechanism for substrate-dependent signaling and underlines the significance of extracellular matrix environment for tumor growth and invasiveness.
Article
It is 40 years since the first member of what came to be known as the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family was described. Structural, molecular and biochemical approaches have subsequently contributed to piecing together the puzzle of how MMPs work, and how they contribute to various disease processes.
Article
We develop a discrete model of malignant invasion using a thermodynamic argument. An extension of the Potts model is used to simulate a population of malignant cells experiencing interactions due to both homotypic and heterotypic adhesion while also secreting proteolytic enzymes and experiencing a haptotactic gradient. In this way we investigate the influence of changes in cell-cell adhesion on the invasion process. We demonstrate that the morphology of the invading front is influenced by changes in the adhesiveness parameters, and detail how the invasiveness of the tumour is related to adhesion. We show that cell-cell adhesion has less of an influence on invasion compared with cell-medium adhesion, and that increases in both proteolytic enzyme secretion rate and the coefficient of haptotaxis act in synergy to promote invasion. We extend the simulation by including proliferation, and, following experimental evidence, develop an algorithm for cell division in which the mitotic rate is explicitly related to changes in the relative magnitudes of homotypic and heterotypic adhesiveness. We show that although an increased proliferation rate usually results in an increased depth of invasion into the extracellular matrix, it does not invariably do so, and may, indeed, cause invasiveness to be reduced.
Article
Migrating cells tend to continue moving in the same direction, a property called persistence. During migration, cells, by definition, form new adhesions at their front and break old adhesions at the rear. We hypothesize that the distinction between new adhesions at the front and older adhesions at the rear plays a major role in directional persistence. We propose specific mechanisms of persistence on the basis of known properties of integrin signals, in hope of stimulating investigation of these ideas.
Article
The ability to connect to the actin cytoskeleton is a key part of the adhesive function of integrins. This linkage between integrins and the cytoskeleton involves a large complex of integrin-associated proteins that function in both the assembly and disassembly of the link. Genetic evidence has helped to clarify the relative contributions of different components of this link. In different contexts integrins can either stimulate or suppress actin based structures, indicating the variety of pathways leading from integrins to the cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton also contributes to the extent of the integrin junction, allowing an adhesive contact to attain sufficient strength to resist contractile forces involved in cellular movement and function.
Article
An siRNA directed against the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) was used to down-regulate this protein in CBS colon carcinoma cells. In additional studies, we utilized a variant of the parental CBS line that demonstrates CaSR expression but does not upregulate this protein in response to extracellular Ca(2+). In neither the siRNA-transfected cells nor the Ca(2+)-nonresponsive variant cells did inclusion of Ca(2+) in the culture medium inhibit proliferation or induce morphological alterations. Extracellular Ca(2+) also failed to induce E-cadherin production or a shift in beta-catenin from the cytoplasm to the cell membrane. In mock-transfected cells and in a Ca(2+)-responsive variant line derived from the same parental CBS cells, Ca(2+) treatment resulted in growth-reduction. This was accompanied by increased E-cadherin production and a shift in beta-catenin distribution from the cytoplasm to the cell membrane. Additionally, down-regulation of c-myc and cyclin D1 expression was observed in mock-transfected cells and in the Ca(2+)-responsive variant line (along with reduced T cell factor transcriptional activation). Neither c-myc nor cyclin D1 was significantly down-regulated in the siRNA-transfected cells or in the Ca(2+)-nonresponsive variant cells upon Ca(2+) stimulation. In histological sections of human colon carcinoma CaSR was significantly reduced as compared to the level in normal colonic crypt epithelial cells. Where CaSR expression was high, strong surface staining for E-cadherin and beta-catenin was observed. Where CaSR expression was reduced, beta-catenin surface expression was likewise reduced.
Article
The complex interactions of cells with extracellular matrix (ECM) play crucial roles in mediating and regulating many processes, including cell adhesion, migration, and signaling during morphogenesis, tissue homeostasis, wound healing, and tumorigenesis. Many of these interactions involve transmembrane integrin receptors. Integrins cluster in specific cell-matrix adhesions to provide dynamic links between extracellular and intracellular environments by bi-directional signaling and by organizing the ECM and intracellular cytoskeletal and signaling molecules. This mini review discusses these interconnections, including the roles of matrix properties such as composition, three-dimensionality, and porosity, the bi-directional functions of cellular contractility and matrix rigidity, and cell signaling. The review concludes by speculating on the application of this knowledge of cell-matrix interactions in the formation of cell adhesions, assembly of matrix, migration, and tumorigenesis to potential future therapeutic approaches.
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Cell Movement Modelling and Applications. Springer. chapter Two-scale Moving Boundary Dynamics of Cancer Invasion: Heterotypic Cell Populations Evolution in Heterogeneous ECM
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Shuttleworth, R., Trucu, D., 2018. Cell Movement Modelling and Applications. Springer. chapter Two-scale Moving Boundary Dynamics of Cancer Invasion: Heterotypic Cell Populations Evolution in Heterogeneous ECM. pp. 1-26. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-96842-1.
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