Targeting filopodia to block cancer cell invasion

L-type calcium channels regulate filopodia stability and cancer cell invasion downstream of integrin signalling

Mounting in vitro, in vivo and clinical evidence suggest an important role for filopodia in driving cancer cell invasion. Using a high-throughput microscopic-based drug screen, we identify FDA-approved calcium channel blockers (CCBs) as potent inhibitors of filopodia formation in cancer cells. Unexpectedly, we discover that L-type calcium channels are functional and frequently expressed in cancer cells suggesting a previously unappreciated role for these channels during tumorigenesis. We further demonstrate that, at filopodia, L-type calcium channels are activated by integrin inside-out signalling, integrin activation and Src. Moreover, L-type calcium channels promote filopodia stability and maturation into talin-rich adhesions through the spatially restricted regulation of calcium entry and subsequent activation of the protease calpain-1. Altogether we uncover a novel and clinically relevant signalling pathway that regulates filopodia formation in cancer cells and propose that cycles of filopodia stabilization, followed by maturation into focal adhesions, directs cancer cell migration and invasion.

Guillaume Jacquemet, Habib Baghirov, Maria Georgiadou, Harri Sihto, Emilia Peuhu, Pierre Cettour-Janet, Tao He, Merja Perälä, Pauliina Kronqvist, Heikki Joensuu & Johanna Ivaska

Mapping the Filopodome

Filopodome Mapping Identifies p130Cas as a Mechanosensitive Regulator of Filopodia Stability

Filopodia are adhesive cellular protrusions specialized in the detection of extracellular matrix (ECM)-derived cues. Although ECM engagement at focal adhesions is known to trigger the recruitment of hundreds of proteins (“adhesome”) to fine-tune cellular behavior, the components of the filopodia adhesions remain undefined. Here, we performed a structured-illumination-microscopy-based screen to map the localization of 80 target proteins, linked to cell adhesion and migration, within myosin-X-induced filopodia. We demonstrate preferential enrichment of several adhesion proteins to either filopodia tips, filopodia shafts, or shaft subdomains, suggesting divergent, spatially restricted functions for these proteins. Moreover, proteins with phosphoinositide (PI) binding sites are particularly enriched in filopodia. This, together with the strong localization of PI(3,4)P2 in filopodia tips, predicts critical roles for PIs in regulating filopodia ultra-structure and function. Our mapping further reveals that filopodia adhesions consist of a unique set of proteins, the filopodome, that are distinct from classical nascent adhesions, focal adhesions, and fibrillar adhesions. Using live imaging, we observe that filopodia adhesions can give rise to nascent adhesions, which, in turn, form focal adhesions. We demonstrate that p130Cas (BCAR1) is recruited to filopodia tips via its C-terminal Cas family homology domain (CCHD) and acts as a mechanosensitive regulator of filopodia stability. Finally, we demonstrate that our map based on myosin-X-induced filopodia can be translated to endogenous filopodia and fascin- and IRSp53-mediated filopodia.

Guillaume Jacquemet, Aki Stubb, Rafael Saup, Mitro Miihkinen, Elena Kremneva, Hellyeh Hamidi & Johanna Ivaska

Cell matrix adhesion in cell migration

The ability of cells to migrate is a fundamental physiological process involved in embryonic development, tissue homeostasis, immune surveillance and wound healing. In order for cells to migrate, they must interact with their environment using adhesion receptors, such as integrins, and form specialized adhesion complexes that mediate responses to different extracellular cues. In this review, we discuss the role of integrin adhesion complexes (IACs) in cell migration, highlighting the layers of regulation that are involved, including intracellular signalling cascades, mechanosensing and reciprocal feedback to the extracellular environment. We also discuss the role of IACs in extracellular matrix remodeling and how they impact upon cell migration.

James R.W. Conway & Guillaume Jacquemet

Access our review here