A key regulator of collective cell migrations, which drive development and cancer metastasis, is substrate stiffness. Increased substrate stiffness promotes migration and is controlled by Myosin. Using Drosophila border cell migration as a model of collective cell migration, we identify, for the first time, that the actin bundling protein Fascin limits Myosin activity in vivo. Loss of Fascin results in: increased activated Myosin on the border cells and their substrate, the nurse cells; decreased border cell Myosin dynamics; and increased nurse cell stiffness as measured by atomic force microscopy. Reducing Myosin restores on-time border cell migration in fascin mutant follicles. Further, Fascin’s actin bundling activity is required to limit Myosin activation. Surprisingly, we find that Fascin regulates Myosin activity in the border cells to control nurse cell stiffness to promote migration. Thus, these data shift the paradigm from a substrate stiffness-centric model of regulating migration, to uncover that collectively migrating cells play a critical role in controlling the mechanical properties of their substrate in order to promote their own migration. This understudied means of mechanical regulation of migration is likely conserved across contexts and organisms, as Fascin and Myosin are common regulators of cell migration.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file 1.
- Maureen C Lamb
- Samuel Q Mellentine
- Tina L Tootle
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Derek Applewhite, Reed College, United States
© 2021, Lamb et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
TMEM16F, a Ca2+-activated phospholipid scramblase (CaPLSase), is critical for placental trophoblast syncytialization, HIV infection, and SARS-CoV2-mediated syncytialization, however, how TMEM16F is activated during cell fusion is unclear. Here, using trophoblasts as a model for cell fusion, we demonstrate that Ca2+ influx through the Ca2+ permeable transient receptor potential vanilloid channel TRPV4 is critical for TMEM16F activation and plays a role in subsequent human trophoblast fusion. GSK1016790A, a TRPV4 specific agonist, robustly activates TMEM16F in trophoblasts. We also show that TRPV4 and TMEM16F are functionally coupled within Ca2+ microdomains in a human trophoblast cell line using patch-clamp electrophysiology. Pharmacological inhibition or gene silencing of TRPV4 hinders TMEM16F activation and subsequent trophoblast syncytialization. Our study uncovers the functional expression of TRPV4 and one of the physiological activation mechanisms of TMEM16F in human trophoblasts, thus providing us with novel strategies to regulate CaPLSase activity as a critical checkpoint of physiologically and disease-relevant cell fusion events.
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