Filopodia-mediated basement membrane assembly at pre-invasive tumor boundaries

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a pre-invasive stage of breast cancer, where the tumor is encapsulated by a basement membrane (BM). At the invasive phase, the BM barrier is compromised enabling tumor cells to escape into the surrounding stroma. The molecular mechanisms that establish and maintain an epithelial BM barrier in vivo are poorly understood. Myosin-X (MYO10) is a filopodia-inducing motor protein implicated in metastasis and poor clinical outcome in patients with invasive breast cancer (IBC). We compared MYO10 expression in patient-matched normal breast tissue and DCIS lesions and found elevated MYO10 expression in DCIS samples, suggesting that MYO10 might facilitate the transition from DCIS to IBC. Indeed, MYO10 promoted the formation of filopodia and cell invasion in vitro and positively regulated the dissemination of individual cancer cells from IBC lesions in vivo. However, MYO10-depleted DCIS xenografts were, unexpectedly, more invasive. In these xenografts, MYO10 depletion compromised BM formation around the lesions resulting in poorly defined tumor borders and increased cancer cell dispersal into the surrounding stroma. Moreover, MYO10-depleted tumors showed increased EMT-marker-positive cells, specifically at the tumor periphery. We also observed cancer spheroids undergoing rotational motion and recruiting BM components in a filopodia-dependent manner to generate a near-continuous extracellular matrix boundary. Taken together, our data identify a protective role for MYO10 in early-stage breast cancer, where MYO10-dependent tumor cell protrusions support BM assembly at the tumor-stroma interface to limit cancer progression, and a pro-invasive role that facilitates cancer cell dissemination at later stages.

Emilia Peuhu,  Guillaume Jacquemet, Colinda LGJ Scheele, Aleksi Isomursu, Ilkka Paatero, Kerstin Thol, Maria Georgiadou, Camilo Guzmán, Satu Koskinen, Asta Laiho, Laura L Elo, Pia Boström, Pauliina Hartiala, Jacco van Rheenen, Johanna Ivaska

Read our paper on biorxiv