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PhD Thesis Defense: Sefora Conti
Tuesday, July 18 @ 3:00 pm–5:00 pm
Reading date: 18/07/2023
Reading time: 15:00
Abstract: Colorectal cancer tumors are composed of heterogeneous and plastic cell populations, including a pool of cancer stem cells that express LGR5. Whether these distinct cell populations display different mechanical properties, and how these properties might contribute to metastasis is unknown. Using CRC patient derived organoids (PDOs), we found that compared to LGR5- cells, LGR5+ cancer stem cells are stiffer, adhere better to the extracellular matrix (ECM), move slower both as single cells and clusters, display higher nuclear YAP, show a higher survival rate in response to mechanical confinement, and form larger transendothelial gaps. These differences are largely explained by the downregulation of the membrane to cortex attachment proteins Ezrin/Radixin/Moesin (ERMs) in the LGR5+ cells. By analyzing scRNA-seq expression patterns from a patient cohort, we show that this downregulation is a robust signature of colorectal tumors. Our results show that LGR5- cells display a mechanically dynamic phenotype suitable for dissemination from the primary tumor whereas LGR5+ cells display a mechanically stable and resilient phenotype suitable for extravasation and metastatic growth.
Reading place: Aula Marga, Hospital Clinic
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