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Although a great deal is known about the signaling events that promote nuclear translocation of NF-κB, how cellular biophysics and the microenvironment might regulate the dynamics of this pathway is poorly understood. In this study, we used high-content image analysis and Bayesian network modeling to ask whether cell shape and context features influence NF-κB activation using the inherent variability present in unperturbed populations of breast tumor and non-tumor cell lines. Cell–cell contact, cell and nuclear area, and protrusiveness all contributed to variability in NF-κB localization in the absence and presence of TNFα. Higher levels of nuclear NF-κB were associated with mesenchymal-like versus epithelial-like morphologies, and RhoA-ROCK-myosin II signaling was critical for mediating shape-based differences in NF-κB localization and oscillations. Thus, mechanical factors such as cell shape and the microenvironment can influence NF-κB signaling and may in part explain how different phenotypic outcomes can arise from the same chemical cues.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Mol Syst Biol

Publication Date

03/2015

Volume

11

Keywords

Bayes Theorem, Breast, Cell Line, Cell Nucleus, Cell Shape, Cellular Microenvironment, Epithelial Cells, Female, Humans, MCF-7 Cells, NF-kappa B, Protein Transport, Signal Transduction