10th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
Leipzig, Germany
September 25-27, 2019
Invited Talk
EMT-induced cell mechanical changes enhance mitotic rounding strength
Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich
Technical University Dresden, BIOTEC, Tatzberg 47/49, 01307 Dresden, Germany
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To undergo mitosis successfully, animal cells need to acquire a round shape to provide space for the mitotic spindle. This mitotic rounding relies on mechanical deformation of surrounding tissue and is driven by forces emanating from actomyosin contractility. Cancer cells are able to maintain successful mitosis in mechanically challenging environments such as the increasingly crowded environment of a growing tumor, thus, suggesting an enhanced ability of mitotic rounding in cancer. Here, we show that epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), a hallmark of cancer progression and metastasis, gives rise to a cell-cycle-dependent cell-mechanical switch that increases mitotic rounding strength in breast epithelial cells. We connect this cell-mechanical change to an EMT-induced rise in activity of Rac1 and downstream effectors. We thus unveil a new mechanism of enhanced mitotic cell rounding through EMT suggesting an EMT-associated improved ability for cell division in the confined environment of a tumor.
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