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Publication - Professor Catherine Nobes

    Microtubule remodelling is required for the front-rear polarity switch during contact inhibition of locomotion


    Kadir, S, Astin, J, tahtamouni, L, Martin, P & Nobes, C, 2011, ‘Microtubule remodelling is required for the front-rear polarity switch during contact inhibition of locomotion’. Journal of Cell Science, vol 124., pp. 2642 - 2653


    When migrating mesenchymal cells collide, they exhibit a 'contact inhibition of locomotion' response that results in reversal of their front-rear polarity by extension of a new leading edge, which enables their migration away from the opposing contacted cell. The critical cytoskeletal rearrangements underpinning these mutual repulsion events are currently unknown. We found that during fibroblast cell-cell collisions, microtubules at the region of contact increase their frequency of catastrophe, their rates of shrinkage and growth, and concomitantly, a new microtubule array is established at a new leading edge. We show that Rho and ROCK activity is necessary for this repulsion response, and we observed increased microtubule stabilisation as a consequence of ROCK inhibition. Importantly, partial destabilisation of microtubules, by co-treatment with a low dose of nocodazole, restored microtubule dynamics to that of untreated cells and rescued contact inhibition of locomotion in ROCK-inhibited cells. Although there was an increase in microtubule growth or shrinkage rates in Y27632 cell-cell collisions, these failed to reach the same level of dynamicity compared with untreated collisions. Our data suggest that microtubule dynamics at contact sites must increase beyond a threshold for a cell to switch its front-rear polarity, and that microtubule stabilisation can lead to a failure of contact inhibition of locomotion.

    Full details in the University publications repository