Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.541, 95-101, 2021
Matrix hardness regulates the cancer cell malignant progression through cytoskeletal network
The tumor microenvironment is a complex microenvironment that combines the biochemical and biophysical factors. When the cells are exposed to the microenvironment, the direct biophysical factor is the matrix hardness. As an auxiliary indicator of clinical disease diagnosis, it is still not clear how the matrix hardness induces cell malignant changes and the regulation mechanisms. In this study, we identified that hard matrix significantly promoted cancer cell migratory behaviors. Cell shape was closely associated with cancer cell malignancy, the high malignant cells were associated with high ratios of length/width and low circularity. F-actin networks were also linked with extracellular matrix, it was not regularly distributed when cells were in non-malignant tumor phases or under F-actin inhibition. F-actin might play the key role that transmitted the signal from extracellular matrix to the intracellular organelles. Further study confirmed that active YAP was translocated to nucleus on hard matrix. Cells on hard matrix with cytochalasin D reversed the cancer cell malignancy, meanwhile F-actin re-distributed to the membrane and YAP nucleus translocations were hindered. This work confirmed that F-actin and YAP were upstream-downstream cascade for the cellular and nucleus outside-in signal transductions. The above results demonstrated that hard matrix promoted breast cancer cell malignant behaviors through F-actin network and YAP activation. These results not only described the signal transductions from extracellular to intracellular that was initiated by the biophysical tumor microenvironment, but provided clinical intervention ideas for cancer treatments. (C) 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.