Cells migrate collectively through confined environments during development and cancer metastasis. The nucleus, a stiff organelle, impedes single cells from squeezing into narrow channels within artificial environments. However, how nuclei affect collective migration into compact tissues is unknown. Here, we use border cells in the fly ovary to study nuclear dynamics in collective, confined in vivo migration. Border cells delaminate from the follicular epithelium and squeeze into tiny spaces between cells called nurse cells. The lead cell nucleus transiently deforms within the lead cell protrusion, which then widens. The nuclei of follower cells deform less. Depletion of the Drosophila B-type lamin, Lam, compromises nuclear integrity, hinders expansion of leading protrusions, and impedes border cell movement. In wildtype, cortical myosin II accumulates behind the nucleus and pushes it into the protrusion, whereas in Lam-depleted cells, myosin accumulates but does not move the nucleus. These data suggest that the nucleus stabilizes lead cell protrusions, helping to wedge open spaces between nurse cells.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms/). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).
You do not currently have access to this content.