The role of Vimentin in Regulating Cell Invasive Migration in Dense Cultures of Breast Carcinoma Cells

Yonatan Messica, Adi Laser-Azogui, Tova Volberg, Yair Elisha, Kseniia Lysakovskaia, Roland Eils, Evgeny Gladilin*, Benjamin Geiger, Roy Beck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell migration and mechanics are tightly regulated by the integrated activities of the various cytoskeletal networks. In cancer cells, cytoskeletal modulations have been implicated in the loss of tissue integrity and acquisition of an invasive phenotype. In epithelial cancers, for example, increased expression of the cytoskeletal filament protein vimentin correlates with metastatic potential. Nonetheless, the exact mechanism whereby vimentin affects cell motility remains poorly understood. In this study, we measured the effects of vimentin expression on the mechano-elastic and migratory properties of the highly invasive breast carcinoma cell line MDA231. We demonstrate here that vimentin stiffens cells and enhances cell migration in dense cultures, but exerts little or no effect on the migration of sparsely plated cells. These results suggest that cell-cell interactions play a key role in regulating cell migration, and coordinating cell movement in dense cultures. Our findings pave the way toward understanding the relationship between cell migration and mechanics in a biologically relevant context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6941-6948
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - 8 Nov 2017


  • Cell motility
  • biophysics
  • cell mechanics
  • collective motility
  • metastasis
  • vimentin


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