(4c) Cancer Metastasis: Deconstructing Cell Motility On Micropatterned Islands and Tracks

Authors: 
Mahmud, G., Northwestern University


Cell motility is a process deriving from the synchronized dynamics of the cytoskeleton. In several important physiological processes?notably, cancer metastasis?the randomly moving cells can acquire a directional motility phenotype and bias their motions in response to environmental cues. Despite intense research, however, the current understanding of directional cell migration is incomplete and there is a growing need to develop systems that would enable the study and control of this process.

In particular, substrates prepared by the reaction?diffusion ASoMic (Anisotropic Solid Microetching) method localize cells onto transparent micro-islands or tracks surrounded by an opaque, adhesion-resistant background. ASoMic is compatible with several important imaging modalities (e.g. wide-field, fluorescent, TIRF and confocal microscopies), and can be used to study and quantify various intracellular and cellular processes related to cell motility. For cells constrained on the islands, the imposed geometry controls spatial organization of the cytoskeleton, while the transparency of the islands allows for real-time analysis of cytoskeletal dynamics.