Neural crest cells bulldoze through the microenvironment using Aquaporin-1 to stabilize filopodia
McLennan R., McKinney M., Teddy J., Morrison J., Kasemeier-Kulesa J., Ridenour D., Manthe C., Giniunaite R., Robinson M., Baker R., Maini P., Kulesa P.
ABSTRACT Neural crest migration requires cells to move through an environment filled with dense extracellular matrix and mesoderm to reach targets throughout the vertebrate embryo. Here, we use high-resolution microscopy, computational modeling, and in vitro and in vivo cell invasion assays to investigate the function of Aquaporin-1 (AQP-1) signaling. We find that migrating lead cranial neural crest cells express AQP-1 mRNA and protein, implicating a biological role for water channel protein function during invasion. Differential AQP-1 levels affect neural crest cell speed, direction, and the length and stability of cell filopodia. Further, AQP-1 enhances matrix metalloprotease (MMP) activity and colocalizes with phosphorylated focal adhesion kinases (pFAK). Co-localization of AQP-1 expression with EphB guidance receptors in the same migrating neural crest cells raises novel implications for the concept of guided bulldozing by lead cells during migration.