Chemically-induced Neurite-like Outgrowth Reveals Multicellular Network Function in Patient-derived Glioblastoma Cells

Barbara da Silva, Bronwyn K. Irving, Euan S. Polson, Alastair Droop, Hollie B.S. Griffiths, Ryan K. Mathew, Lucy F. Stead, Joanne Marrison, Courtney Williams, Jennifer Williams, Susan C. Short, Margherita Scarcia, Peter John O'Toole, Simon J. Allison, Georgia Mavria, Heiko Wurdak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumor stem cells and malignant multicellular networks have been separately implicated in the therapeutic resistance of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive type of brain cancer in adults. We show that small molecule inhibition of RHO-associated serine/threonine kinase (ROCKi) significantly promoted the outgrowth of neurite-like cell projections in cultures of heterogeneous patient-derived GBM stem-like cells. These projections
formed de novo -induced cellular network (iNet) ‘webs’, which regressed after withdrawal of ROCKi. Connected cells within the iNet web exhibited long range calcium signal transmission, and significant lysosomal and mitochondrial trafficking. In contrast to their less-connected vehicle control counterparts, iNet cells remained viable and proliferative after high-dose radiation. These findings demonstrate a link between ROCKi-regulated cell projection dynamics and the formation of radiation-resistant multicellular networks. Our study identifies means to reversibly induce iNet webs ex vivo , and may thereby accelerate future studies into the biology of GBM cellular networks.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjcs228452
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019

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