Water Fluxes and Cell Migration How Aquaporin 9 Controls Cell Shape and Motility


Prerequisites for all modes of cell migration are cell-substratum interactions that require a sophisticated interplay of membrane dynamics and cytoskeletal rearrangement. Generally, a migrating cell is polarized with a distinct rear and front, from which it extends a wide and thin membrane protrusionlamellipodium, small fingerlike projectionsfilopodia, and membrane blistersblebs. The development of these structures is primarily driven by cytoskeletal contractions and actin polymerization, which are under regulation of several actin-binding proteins and the small GTPases Cdc42, Rac and Rho. Lamellipodia and filopodia are assumed to arise from polymerizing actin, pushing the membrane forward through a Brownian-ratchet mechanism. However, other models based on shifts in the local hydrostatic pressure have also been suggested since blebs are initially void of actin. Recently, fluxes of water through membrane-anchored water channels, aquaporins (AQPs), have been implicated in cell motility, while they appeared to localize to lamellipodia and facilitate cell locomotion. Indeed, expression of AQP9 was shown to induce filopodia in fibroblasts. Here, we have focused on the effects of AQP9 on cell morphology and motility. By using primarily live cell imaging of GFP-AQP9 and other cytoskeletal components we found that AQP9: (i) enhances cell polarization and migration in a Rac1 and serine11 phosphorylation-dependent manner in neutrophils, (ii) induces and accumulates in filopodia, before actin polymerization, (iii) locally deforms the membrane upon rapid reductions osmolarity, (iv) accumulates in the cell membrane underlying bleb development, (v) induces multiple protrusions and thereby impairs the intrinsic directionality, and (vi) facilitates epithelial wound closure through a mechanism involving swelling and expansion of the monolayer. Based on these findings, we have presented models for how water fluxes through AQPs aids actin polymerization in the formation of membrane protrusions. In summary, these models rely on localized accumulation of ion and water channels that control the influx of water and thereby the build-up of a hydrostatic pressure between the membrane and the cytoskeleton. Upon reaching a critical pressure, it will dislocate the membrane from the cytoskeleton and force it to protrude outwards. Moreover, this will promote a local cytoplasmic gel-to-sol transformation, which facilitates diffusion of cytoskeletal reactants. Hereby, we can furthermore assign to filopodia a role as osmo-sensors, protecting the cell from different osmotic loads. In addition, we have postulated a novel model for wound healing involving force generation by cell swelling. Taken together, this thesis provides the field of cell migration with solid evidence for pivotal roles of water fluxes through AQP9 in particular, but most likely AQPs in general, during cell locomotion and localized volume control.

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@inproceedings{Karlsson2013WaterFA, title={Water Fluxes and Cell Migration How Aquaporin 9 Controls Cell Shape and Motility}, author={Thommie Karlsson and Yogi Berra and Tommy Sundqvist}, year={2013} }