Cytoskeleton and Metastasis
Cell migration and invasion are essential processes in physiology (development, immune system, wound healing, angiogenesis) and also in pathologies such as cancer metastasis. Some tumour cells are capable of escaping from the primary tumor mass, invade adjacent tissue, and eventually colonize other organs, generating secondary tumours or metastases. Cell motility is controlled by diverse cell signaling cascades, including the Rho GTPase pathway, which regulates the cell cytoskeleton through actin polymerization and actomyosin contractility, both of which are essential for cell movement to occur. The cell cytoskeleton is involved not only in migration and invasion, but also in cell cycle and cytokinesis, extracellular matrix remodelling, and muscle contraction, among other processes.
In previous studies we have described diverse molecular mechanisms involved in the control of cell migration and invasion, including those explaining the contribution of cell cytoskeleton to adaptation and development of resistance to several therapies, such as MAPK-targeted therapy (BRAF and MEK inhibitors) or immune blockpoint inhibitors (anti-PD-1).
Our research is focused on identifying novel molecular mechanisms that regulate the cell cytoskeleton and cell migration and invasion during tumour progression, as well as during adaptation to therapy and later development of resistance in both cutaneous melanoma and prostate cancer models. The final goal is to identify new therapeutic targets that can be targeted to stop or delay cancer progression and metastatic dissemination and to overcome therapy resistance.