Moving in the right direction - Nanoimaging in cancer cell motility and metastasis

Lilian Soon, Filip Braet, John Condeelis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Although genetic and protein manipulations have been the cornerstone for the study and understanding of biological processes for many decades, complimentary nanoscale observations have only more recently been achieved in the live-imaging mode. It is at the nano measurement level that events such as protein-protein interactions, enzymatic conversions, and single-molecule stochastic behavior take place. Therefore, nanoscale observations allow us to reinterpret knowledge from large-scale or bulk techniques and gain new insight into molecular events that has cellular, tissue, and organismal phenotypic manifestations. This review identifies pertinent questions relating to the sensing and directional component of cancer cell chemotaxis and discusses the platforms that provide insight into the molecular events related to cell motility. The study of cell motility at the molecular imaging level often necessitates the use of devices such as microinjection, microfluidics, in vivo/intravital and in vitro chemotaxis assays, as well as fluorescence methods like uncaging and FRET. The micro- and nanofabricated devices that facilitate these techniques and their incorporation to specialized microscopes such as the multiphoton, AFM, and TIR-FM, for high-resolution imaging comprise the nanoplatforms used to explore the mechanisms of carcinogenesis. In real-time observations, within a milieu of physiological protein concentrations, true states of dynamic and kinetic fluxes can be monitored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-257
Number of pages6
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Cancer cell
  • High resolution imaging
  • Invasion
  • Metastasis
  • Motility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Instrumentation
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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