An In Vitro System to Study the Mesenchymal-to-Amoeboid Transition

  • Aleksandra S. Chikina
  • Antonina Y. Alexandrova
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1749)


During the last few years, significant attention has been given to the plasticity of cell migration, i.e., the ability of individual cell to switch between different motility modes, in particular between mesenchymal and amoeboid motilities. This phenomenon is called the mesenchymal-to-amoeboid transition (MAT). Such a plasticity of cell migration is a mechanism, by which cancer cells can adapt their migration mode to different microenvironments and thus it may promote tumor dissemination. It was shown that interventions at certain regulatory points of mesenchymal motility as well as alterations of environmental conditions can trigger MAT. One of the approaches to induce MAT is to mechanically confine cells and one of the simplest ways to achieve this is to cultivate cells under agarose. This method does not require any special tool, is easily reproducible and allows cell tracking by videomicroscopy. We describe here a protocol, where MAT is associated with chemotaxis.

Key words

Mesenchymal-to-amoeboid transition Lamellipodia Bleb Confined conditions Ultrapure agarose 



Extracellular matrix


Mesenchymal-to-amoeboid transition


Matrix metalloproteinases.



This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Grant 16-15-10288).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksandra S. Chikina
    • 1
    • 2
  • Antonina Y. Alexandrova
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis, N.N. Blokhin Russian Cancer Research CenterMoscowRussian Federation
  2. 2.CNRS UMR144/Institut CurieParisFrance

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