Confined environments induce polarized paraspeckle condensates

Vanja Todorovski, Finn McCluggage, Yixuan Li, Annika Meid, Joachim P Spatz, Andrew W Holle, Archa H Fox, Yu Suk Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer cells experience confinement as they navigate the tumour microenvironment during metastasis. Recent studies have revealed that the nucleus can function as a 'ruler' for measuring physical confinement via membrane tension, allowing for compression-sensitive changes in migration. Cell nuclei contain many nuclear bodies that form when their components phase separate and condense within permissive local regions within the nucleus. However, how sub-nuclear organisation and phase separation changes with cell confinement and compression is largely unknown. Here we focus on paraspeckles, stress-responsive subnuclear bodies that form by phase separation around the long non-coding RNA NEAT1. As cells entered moderate confinement, a significant increase in paraspeckle number and size was observed compared to unconfined cells. Paraspeckle polarization bias towards the leading edge was also observed in confinement, correlating with regions of euchromatin. Increasing paraspeckle abundance resulted in increases in confined migration likelihood, speed, and directionality, as well as an enhancement of paraspeckle polarization towards the leading edge. This polarization of paraspeckle condensates may play a key role in regulating confined migration and invasion in cancer cells, and illustrates the utility of microchannel-based assays for identifying phenomena not observed on 2D or 3D bulk substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2023


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