Research Papers:

Increased cancer stem cell invasion is mediated by myosin IIB and nuclear translocation

Dustin Thomas, Praveena S. Thiagarajan, Vandana Rai, Ofer Reizes, Justin Lathia and Thomas Egelhoff _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:47586-47592. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9896

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Dustin Thomas1,2, Praveena S. Thiagarajan1, Vandana Rai1, Ofer Reizes1,2, Justin Lathia1,2, Thomas Egelhoff1,2

1Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA

2Department of Molecular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

Correspondence to:

Thomas Egelhoff, email: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer stem cell, myosin IIB, nuclear translocation, invasion, breast cancer

Received: January 27, 2016     Accepted: May 01, 2016     Published: June 7, 2016


Despite many advances in the treatment of breast cancer, it remains one of the leading causes of death among women. One hurdle for effective therapy is the treatment of the highly invasive and tumorigenic subpopulation of tumors called cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs, when stimulated with EGF, migrate through a physiological 3D collagen matrix at a higher velocity than non-stem cancer cells (non-SCCs). This increased invasion is due, in part, by an enhanced nuclear translocation ability of CSCs. We observed no difference between CSC and non-SCC in cellular migration rates on a 2D surface. Furthermore, during transwell migration using large diameter transwell pores, both CSC and non-SCC populations migrated with similar efficiency. However, when challenged with more restrictive transwells, CSCs were dramatically more capable of transwell migration. These results implicate nuclear translocation as a major rate limiting factor for CSC dissemination. We further show that non-muscle myosin IIB is critical for this enhanced nuclear translocation and the ability for cancer stem cells to efficiently migrate through restrictive 3D environments. These studies suggest that cytoskeletal elements upregulated in CSCs, such as myosin IIB, may be valuable targets for intervention in cancer stem cell dispersal from tumors.

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