Mechanosensitive regulation of cancer and pluripotency
Johanna Ivaska, Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku, Finland
Tissue homeostasis is dependent on the spatially controlled localization of specific cell types and the correct composition of the extracellular stroma. Integrin mediated adhesions, in conjunction with the actin cytoskeleton, allow cells to sense the stiffness of the surrounding extra-cellular matrix (ECM). Conversely, cells exert acto-myosin and integrin dependent forces to remodel and organize the surrounding ECM. In cancer, stiffening of the tumor stroma is considered as an instrumental contributor to tumor progression. However, the mechanisms how stromal ECM regulates cancer progression is not fully understood. I will describe our recent findings on the interrelationship between cancer cell mediated ECM remodelling and ECM induced mechanochemical signals regulating transcription of growth promoting pathways in cancer cells. Reprogramming and survival of human pluripotent stem cells is heavily influenced by their adhesion to the underlying ECM. We have recently investigated the link between ECM-adhesion, the actin cytoskeleton and cell contractility in maintenance of pluripotency. I will describe our recent efforts to define the stem-cell adhesion structure in nanoscale and how it contributes to maintenance of pluripotency.