Skip to main content

Highly motile cells are metabolically responsive to collagen density


Zanotelli MRMatthew R , Zhang JJian , Ortiz IIsmael , Wang WWenjun , Chada NCNeil C , Reinhart-King CACynthia A . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2022 4 26; 119(18). e2114672119


Altered tissue mechanics and metabolism have gained significant attention as drivers of tumorigenesis, and mechanoresponsive metabolism has been implicated in migration and metastasis. However, heterogeneity in cell populations makes it difficult to link changes in behavior with metabolism, as individual cell behaviors are not necessarily reflected in population-based measurements. As such, the impact of increased collagen deposition, a tumor-associated collagen signature, on metabolism remains ambiguous. Here, we utilize a wide range of collagen densities to alter migration ability and study the bioenergetics of individual cells over time. Sorting cells based on their level of motility revealed energetics are a function of collagen density only for highly motile cells, not the entire population or cells with low motility. Changes in migration with increasing collagen density were correlated with cellular energetics, where matrix conditions most permissive to migration required less energy usage during movement and migrated more efficiently. These findings reveal a link between matrix mechanics, migratory phenotype, and bioenergetics and suggest that energetic costs are determined by the extracellular matrix and influence cell motility.