The unique, albeit devastating, ability of cancer cells to migrate out of their home tissue and metastasize is facilitated by an altered form of cell adhesion. To propel cell body forward, cell adhesion of invasive cells is critical for the application of traction force onto extracellular matrix and neighboring cells. The regulation and mechanics of the cell adhesion mediated traction force, however, remain elusive. This is partly due to the limited availability of experimental tools for simultaneous analysis of mechanical forces and protein interactions at adhesive contacts. To circumvent this, our novel high-resolution live-cell confocal microscopy system combines micron-sized cellular force proves with in situ analysis of protein interactions. Our simultaneous analysis of protein dynamics has revealed the highly transient nature of the protein interaction at force-bearing adhesive contacts, and future experiments will identify cytoplasmic regulators of traction force exerted by invasive cancer cells. By precisely defining how traction forces are regulated in cancer cells, our novel experimental platform will aid in the identification of protein targets for anti-invasion therapeutic development.
Arnold O. Beckman exemplifies the meaning of the word humanitarian. Combined with his unwavering enthusiasm for life, his keen sense of humor and his strong moral and ethical principles, he is a national icon.