The Interplay of Osmotic Engine Model and Actin Polymerization in Confined Cell Migration

[Speaker] Konstantinos Konstantopoulos:1
[Co-author] Sean X Sun:2
1:Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, USA, 2:Mechanical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, USA

Cell migration plays a pivotal role in diverse (patho)physiological phenomena, including cancer metastasis. Our knowledge on the mechanisms of cell motility originates primarily from studies using unconfined, two-dimensional (2D) substrates. However, these 2D assays fail to recapitulate the confining tracks encountered in vivo. Thus, we have engineered in vitro models to study cell motility in confining channels of different stiffness. According to the Osmotic Engine Model, the polarized distribution of ion channels, ion pumps and aquaporins along the longitudinal cell axis drives tumor cell migration inside stiff polydimethylsiloxane-based confining microchannels even after inhibition of actin polymerization with high doses (2 µM) of latrunculin A. This presentation will also discuss the interplay between the osmotic engine model and actin polymerization inside compliant, narrow microchannels. Uncovering the complexity of cell locomotion in physiologically relevant microenvironments could enable the development of therapeutic interventions aiming to halt metastatic spread.
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