Research ResourceCell Biology

Quantitative Imaging of Epithelial Cell Scattering Identifies Specific Inhibitors of Cell Motility and Cell-Cell Dissociation

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Science Signaling  03 Jul 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 231, pp. rs5
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002677

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Quantifying Cell Scattering

Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) causes epithelial cells to dissociate from each other and migrate as single cells, a phenomenon called scattering, which is a model for a developmental process known as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which also occurs in some cancers. Loerke et al. developed imaging tools that enabled them to track the scattering of live cells without the need to express fluorescently tagged proteins and in such a way that they could distinguish between changes in cell-cell adhesion and cell motility. The authors screened a drug library in an epithelial cell line with these imaging tools and uncovered inhibitors of cell-cell dissociation that did not strongly affect cell motility, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This assay could be used to identify drugs that prevent cell-cell dissociation, an early step in tumor invasion and metastasis.

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