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Braig, Simone; Schmidt, B. U. Sebastian; Stoiber, Katharina; Haendel, Chris; Moehn, Till; Werz, Oliver; Mueller, Rolf; Zahler, Stefan; Koeberle, Andreas; Kaes, Josef A. and Vollmar, Angelika M. (2015): Pharmacological targeting of membrane rigidity: implications on cancer cell migration and invasion. In: New Journal of Physics, Vol. 17, 083007 [PDF, 1MB]

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The invasive potential of cancer cells strongly depends on cellular stiffness, a physical quantity that is not only regulated by the mechanical impact of the cytoskeleton but also influenced by the membrane rigidity. To analyze the specific role of membrane rigidity in cancer progression, we treated cancer cells with the Acetyl-CoA carboxylase inhibitor Soraphen A and revealed an alteration of the phospholipidome via mass spectrometry. Migration, invasion, and cell death assays were employed to relate this alteration to functional consequences, and a decrease of migration and invasion without significant impact on cell death has been recorded. Fourier fluctuation analysis of giant plasma membrane vesicles showed that Soraphen A increases membrane rigidity of carcinoma cell membranes. Mechanical measurements of the creep deformation response of whole intact cells were performed using the optical stretcher. The increase in membrane rigidity was observed in one cell line without changing the creep deformation response indicating no restructuring of the cytoskeleton. These data indicate that the increase of membrane rigidity alone is sufficient to inhibit invasiveness of cancer cells, thus disclosing the eminent role of membrane rigidity in migratory processes.

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