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Figure 1 | Cell Communication and Signaling

Figure 1

From: The role of the tissue microenvironment in the regulation of cancer cell motility and invasion

Figure 1

Transitions among cell invasion modes. The conversion from epithelial cells to motile mesenchymally migrating cells (EMT) is induced by repression of transcriptional regulators such as Snail or Twist which leads to a downregulation of E-cadherin and consequently to a loss of intercellular junctions. Invasion of individual mesenchymal cells is dependent on proteolytical degradation of the surrounding ECM. The degradation processes localize at the anterior edge of the cell and eventually generate a path for invasion. When integrin activation or extracellular protease activity is decreased in mesenchymal cells, or when Rho/ROCK signaling is upregulated, a transition towards amoeboid movements (MAT) occurs. Conversely, inhibition of Rho/ROCK signaling may result in amoeboid mesenchymal transition (AMT). The mesenchymal cells exhibit elongated morphology in a 3 D environment, with actomyosin contractile units located at the front and rear of the cells, while amoeboid cells typically exhibit a round shape in 3 D matrices, with a more cortical distribution of actomyosin fibers.

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