Morphomechanical and structural changes induced by ROCK inhibitor in breast cancer cells
The EMT phenomenon is based on tumour progression. The cells lose their physiologic phenotype and assumed a mesenchymal phenotype characterized by an increased migratory capacity, invasiveness and high resistance to apoptosis. In this process, RHO family regulates the activation or suppression of ROCK (Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase) which in turn regulates the cytoskeleton dynamics. However, while the biochemical mechanisms are widely investigated, a comprehensive and careful estimation of biomechanical changes has not been extensively addressed. In this work, we used a strong ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, to evaluate the effects of inhibition on living breast cancer epithelial cells by a biomechanical approach. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) was used to estimate changes of cellular elasticity, quantified by Young's modulus parameter. The morphometric alterations were analyzed by AFM topographies and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM). Our study revealed a significant modification in the Young's modulus after treatment, especially as regards cytoskeletal region. Our evidences suggest that the use of Y-27632 enhanced the cell rigidity, preventing cell migration and arrested the metastasization process representing a potential powerful factor for cancer treatment.