Protein called LAP1 involved in metastasis of melanoma cells making their nuclei more fluid and able to easier squeeze through gaps
"Your cancer has spread". Words no-one wants to hear. This process of cancer spreading to other parts of the body is called metastasis and accounts for most cancer-related deaths. So understanding how cancer cells break free of a dense tumour and start migrating is a high priority. Researchers have now identified a key culprit in melanoma; the most serious type of skin cancer. Migrating cancer cells were able to move through smaller spaces more easily, compared to ones confined to a tumour, by changing the shape of their nucleus (four pictured). Their nuclei become ‘more fluid’ by forming bulges of different shapes and sizes at the edges. Usually the nucleus is protected by a rigid layer called the nuclear envelope. However, a protein called LAP-1 (highlighted in magenta) helps to loosen that layer in more aggressive cancer cells allowing them to squeeze through smaller gaps enabling invasion and migration.
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