HER2 Cancer Protrusion Growth Signaling Regulated by Unhindered, Localized Filopodial Dynamics
Protrusions are plasma membrane extensions that are found in almost every cell in the human body. Cancer cell filopodial and lamellipodial protrusions play key roles in the integral processes of cell motility and signaling underlying tumor invasion and metastasis. HER2 (ErbB-2) is overexpressed in diverse types of tumors and regulates PI3K-pathway-mediated protrusion growth. It is known that HER2 resides at breast cancer cell protrusions, but how protrusion-based HER2 spatiotemporal dynamics
... emporal dynamics shape cancer signaling is unclear. Here, we study how HER2 location and motion regulate protrusion signaling and growth using quantitative spatio-temporal molecular imaging approaches. Our data highlight morphologically-segregated features of filopodial and lamellipodial protrusions, in in vitro 2D breast cancer cells and in vivo intact breast tumor. Functional- segregation parallels morphological-segregation, as HER2 and its activated downstream pAKT-PI3K signaling remain spatially- localized at protrusions, provoking new protrusion growth proximal to sites of HER2 activation. HER2 in SKBR3 breast cancer cell filopodia exhibits fast, linearly-directed motion that is distinct from lamellipodia and non-protrusion subcellular regions (~3-4 times greater diffusion constant, rapid speeds of 2-3 um2/s). Surprisingly, filopodial HER2 motion is passive, requiring no active energy sources. Moreover, while HER2 motion in lamellipodia and non-protrusion regions show hindered diffusion typical of membrane proteins, HER2 diffuses freely within filopodia. We conclude that HER2 activation, propagation, and functional protrusion growth is a local process in which filopodia have evolved to exploit Brownian thermal fluctuations within a barrier-free nanostructure to transduce rapid signaling. These results support the importance of developing filopodia and other protrusion-targeted strategies for cancer.