High cell membrane tension constrains spread of cancer: Study


Cancer cell membranes are more flexible than normal cell membranes. Collaborative research has found that cancer invasion and migration in mice can be suppressed by manipulating the stiffness of the cell membrane.

These results were published in the journal Nature Communications by a research group that included lecturer TSUJITA Kazuya and ITOH professor Toshiki from the Bio-Signal Research Center of Kobe University, and SATOW Reiko Lecturer and Distinguished Professor FUKAMI Kiyoko from Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences.

It is hoped that this discovery could be applied to the development of new cancer treatments based on the physical characteristics of cells.

1. The membranes of cancer cells are softer than those of normal cells.

2. By increasing the tension on the membranes of cancer cells, the research team was able to suppress their migration and invasion in a mouse model.

3. This will facilitate the development of new therapies aimed at improving the physical characteristics of cancer cells.

Metastases are the leading cause of cancer death. As the cancer cell becomes more malignant, it undergoes amoeba-like structural changes that allow it to migrate more easily. It is removed from the primary lesion, causing distant metastases.

In recent years, research has shown that these significant changes in cell structure and motility are controlled by the physical characteristics of the cell itself. In fact, cancer cells have been reported to be relatively “soft” compared to normal cells.

Much attention is paid to the relationship between changes in the physical characteristics of the cell and its malignancy. However, it is not known exactly what physical characteristics are associated with the malignant nature of the cell.

In their study, Tsujita et al. used optical tweezers * to pull out the cell surface membrane and analyze it, which allowed them to determine that cancer cells are comparatively softer than normal cells. The strength of the cell membrane is regulated by the networks of the actin cytoskeleton that attach to it.

This study showed that in cancer cells, the ERM proteins that support membrane attachment to actin dissociate from the cell membrane, making the membrane soft.

By securely attaching ERM proteins to cancer cell membranes, the researchers were able to re-attach the membrane to actin to resemble a normal cell.

This led to the fact that the membrane of the cancer cell became rigid and prevented abnormal changes in structure and mobility. In addition, breast cancer cells with hardened membranes have lost the ability to spread to the lungs in a mouse model.

These results indicate that it can curb the spread of cancer by manipulating the tension of the cell membrane.

The results of the current research may lead to the development of new cancer treatments based on the physical characteristics of cancer cells. If a chemical is found that strengthens cell membranes, this ineffective drug can also be used to prevent cancer invasion and migration.

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This story was published from the news agency tape without text changes. Only the title has changed.


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