Forces drive basement membrane invasion inCaenorhabditis elegans
Basement membrane is a particular kind of sheet-like extracellular matrix that separates tissue compartments. Invasion of cells through basement membrane barriers is a key aspect of many normal and pathological processes, including organ development and cancer cell metastasis. Invasive protrusions are rich in actin, a cytoskeletal biopolymer, the self-assembly of which can produce force and remodel extracellular matrix. However, in the invasive protrusion, actin has been attributed a function in scaffolding and trafficking, and its mechanical role has not been explored. Here we show that invading cells in
apply forces via actin assembly to break through basement membrane, and that force production is one of the key features of invasion.