University of Dundee

“Cell migration in gut homeostasis and cancer invasion – role of microenvironment”

Event Date: 
Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 14:00 to 15:00
Event Location: 
Microsoft Teams
Professor Inke Nathke
Dr Rastko Sknepnek
Event Speaker: 
Dr Danijela Vignjevic
Institut Curie - Hôpital René Huguenin - Department of Cell Biology
Event Type: 

Division of Cell & Developmental Biology


School of Life Sciences






The entire intestinal epithelium is renewed every week due to cell division in the crypts coupled with cell migration towards the villi and loss of cells by apoptosis at the tip of villi. However, the mechanism responsible for the migration of intestinal cells was unclear. Using transgenic animals, ex vivo gut slice cultures, and theoretical modeling, we found that in the crypts, epithelial cells move passively due to the pushing force generated by dividing cells. However, along the villi, cells move actively using actomyosin-rich basal cellular protrusions.

In the second part of the seminar, I will talk about tumor microenvironment in tumor progression. Besides biochemical signals, mechanical forces from the microenvironment also play a role in tumor progression. Cancer-associate fibroblasts (CAFs) have enhanced contractility and capacity to synthesize, deposit, and crosslink ECM, making stroma stiffer. Thus, by accumulating around the tumor, they could provide a physical barrier constraining tumor expansion. However, it has been shown that by exerting mechanical forces on the ECM, CAFs also enhance tumor invasion. These antagonistic roles of forces produced by CAFs in tumor progression will be discussed.

Click here to join the meeting