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Rho Overexpression Leads to Mitosis-Associated Detachment of Cells from Epithelial Sheets: A Link to the Mechanism of Cancer Dissemination

J. M. Vasiliev, T. Omelchenko, I. M. Gelfand, H. H. Feder and E. M. Bonder
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 101, No. 34 (Aug. 24, 2004), pp. 12526-12530
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3373016
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Rho Overexpression Leads to Mitosis-Associated Detachment of Cells from Epithelial Sheets: A Link to the Mechanism of Cancer Dissemination
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Abstract

Dissemination of neoplastic cells from the primary tumor (invasion and metastasis) is a fundamentally dangerous step in multistage carcinogenesis. Recent evidence suggests that Rho GTPase-mediated signaling is linked to dissemination of cells from several different types of human tumors. The Rho family of proteins is typically associated with the regulation of cytoskeletal activity, including actin assembly, microtubule dynamics, and myosin II-dependent contractility of the actin-rich cortex. We examined the effect of overexpression of constitutively active RhoA on islands and monolayers of epithelial cells. Although newly plated cells initially formed small spread islands, there was also a significant population of cells that detached from the substrate, floated in the medium, and then could reattach to the substrate to form new colonies. Detachment of cells from transfected epithelial islands or monolayers occurred in correlation to the plane of cytokinesis after misorientation of the mitotic spindle axis. We suggest that these alterations result from Rho-induced increase of contractility of the cortex of dividing cells, which, during cytokinesis, produces a cell that has budded out of an existing layer of cells. Cell division-mediated detachment of cells from tissue structures may be an important mechanism of tumor dissemination and metastasis.

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