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Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Dec;18(12):1311-1323. doi: 10.1038/ncb3438. Epub 2016 Nov 14.

Engulfed cadherin fingers are polarized junctional structures between collectively migrating endothelial cells.

Author information

1
Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
2
Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia 20147, USA.
3
Cell Sciences Imaging Facility, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Abstract

The development and maintenance of tissues requires collective cell movement, during which neighbouring cells coordinate the polarity of their migration machineries. Here, we ask how polarity signals are transmitted from one cell to another across symmetrical cadherin junctions, during collective migration. We demonstrate that collectively migrating endothelial cells have polarized VE-cadherin-rich membrane protrusions, 'cadherin fingers', which leading cells extend from their rear and follower cells engulf at their front, thereby generating opposite membrane curvatures and asymmetric recruitment of curvature-sensing proteins. In follower cells, engulfment of cadherin fingers occurs along with the formation of a lamellipodia-like zone with low actomyosin contractility, and requires VE-cadherin/catenin complexes and Arp2/3-driven actin polymerization. Lateral accumulation of cadherin fingers in follower cells precedes turning, and increased actomyosin contractility can initiate cadherin finger extension as well as engulfment by a neighbouring cell, to promote follower behaviour. We propose that cadherin fingers serve as guidance cues that direct collective cell migration.

Comment in

PMID:
27842057
PMCID:
PMC6159904
DOI:
10.1038/ncb3438
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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