The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 48: 425 - 439 (2004)

Vol 48, Issue 5-6

Special Issue: Invasion in Cancer and Embryonic Development

Cytoskeletal mechanisms responsible for invasive migration of neoplastic cells

Published: 1 September 2004

Jury M. Vasiliev

Russian Cancer Research Center and Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.


Cytoskeletal reorganizations, especially alterations of contractile tension generated by the actin-myosin cortex, are of central importance in the development of the phenotype of morphologically transformed neoplastic cells with invasive behavior. These reorganizations can be regarded as genetically determined aberrations of the physiological reactions of normal cells which are responsible for their ability to undergo exploratory migrations, including epithelio-mesenchymal transformations, invasion of matrix by epithelial tubules etc. It is suggested that these physiological and neoplastic transformations are based on Rho-dependent alterations in contractility. A decrease or an increase in contractility may result in the development of distinct types of invasive phenotypes. These contractility-dependent phenotype alterations may be modified by alterations in the expression of other genes, especially of those coding for components of adhesive structures.


microfilament, microtubule, epitheliocyte, fibroblast, tension

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.