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Title: Regulation of cell migration in cancer : investigation into the regulation of cancer cell blebbing in the extracellular matrix
Author: Ponuwei, G. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 8119
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2015
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Cell migration is a highly coordinated process and any aberration in the regulatory mechanisms could result in pathological conditions such as cancer. The ability of cancer cells to disseminate to distant sites within the body has made it difficult to treat. Cancer cells also exhibit plasticity that makes them able to interconvert from an elongated, mesenchymal morphology to an amoeboid blebbing form under different physiological conditions. Blebs are spherical membrane protrusions formed by actomyosin-mediated contractility of cortical actin resulting in increased hydrostatic pressure and subsequent detachment of the membrane from the cortex. Tumour cells use blebbing as an alternative mode of migration by squeezing through preexisting gaps in the ECM, and bleb formation is believed to be mediated by the Rho-ROCK signaling pathway. However, the involvement of transmembrane water and ion channels in cell blebbing has not been examined. In the present study, the role of the transmembrane water channels, aquaporins, transmembrane ion transporters and lipid signaling enzymes in the regulation of blebbing was investigated. Using 3D matrigel matrix as an in vitro model to mimic normal extracellular matrix, and a combination of confocal and time-lapse microscopy, it was found that AQP1 knockdown by siRNA ablated blebbing of HT1080 and ACHN cells, and overexpression of AQP1-GFP not only significantly increased bleb size with a corresponding decrease in bleb numbers, but also induced bleb formation in non-blebbing cell lines. Importantly, AQP1 overexpression reduces bleb lifespan due to faster bleb retraction. This novel finding of AQP1-facilitated bleb retraction requires the activity of the Na+/H+ pump as inhibition of the ion transporter, which was found localized to intracellular vesicles, blocked bleb retraction in both cell lines. This study also demonstrated that a differential regulation of cell blebbing by AQP isoforms exists as knockdown of AQP5 had no effect on bleb formation. Data from this study also demonstrates that the lipid signaling PLD2 signals through PA in the LPA-LPAR-Rho-ROCK axis to positively regulate bleb formation in both cell lines. Taken together, this work provides a novel role of AQP1 and Na+/H+ pump in regulation of cell blebbing, and this could be exploited in the development of new therapy to treat cancer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available