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Investigating Tunneling Nanotubes in Cancer Cells: Guidelines for Structural and Functional Studies through Cell Imaging

Abstract : By allowing insured communication between cancer cells themselves and with the neighboring stromal cells, tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) are involved in the multistep process of cancer development from tumorigenesis to the treatment resistance. However, despite their critical role in the biology of cancer, the study of the TNTs has been announced challenging due to not only the absence of a specific biomarker but also the fragile and transitory nature of their structure and the fact that they are hovering freely above the substratum. Here, we proposed to review guidelines to follow for studying the structure and functionality of TNTs in tumoral neuroendocrine cells (PC12) and nontumorigenic human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC-3, H28). In particular, we reported how crucial is it (i) to consider the culture conditions (culture surface, cell density), (ii) to visualize the formation of TNTs in living cells (mechanisms of formation, 3D representation), and (iii) to identify the cytoskeleton components and the associated elements (categories, origin, tip, and formation/transport) in the TNTs. We also focused on the input of high-resolution cell imaging approaches including Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) nanoscopy, Transmitted and Scanning Electron Microscopies (TEM and SEM). In addition, we underlined the important role of the organelles in the mechanisms of TNT formation and transfer between the cancer cells. Finally, new biological models for the identification of the TNTs between cancer cells and stromal cells (liquid air interface, ex vivo, in vivo) and the clinical considerations will also be discussed.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02563618
Contributor : Florence Couteau <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 2:34:05 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 4:17:30 PM

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Fatéméh Dubois, Magalie Bénard, Bastien Jean-Jacques, Damien Schapman, Hélène Roberge, et al.. Investigating Tunneling Nanotubes in Cancer Cells: Guidelines for Structural and Functional Studies through Cell Imaging. BioMed Research International , Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2020, 2020, pp.1-16. ⟨10.1155/2020/2701345⟩. ⟨hal-02563618⟩

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