Upon infection, mature dendritic cells (mDCs) migrate from peripheral tissue to lymph nodes (LNs) to activate T lymphocytes and initiate the adaptive immune response. This fast and tightly regulated process is tuned by different microenvironmental factors, such as the physical properties of the tissue. Mechanistically, mDCs migration mostly relies on acto-myosin flow and contractility that depend on non-muscular Myosin IIA (MyoII) activity. However, the specific contribution of this molecular motor for mDCs navigation in complex microenvironments has yet to be fully established. Here, we identified a specific role of MyoII activity in the regulation of mDCs migration in highly confined microenvironments. Using microfluidic systems, we observed that during mDCs chemotaxis in 3D collagen gels under defined CCL21 gradients, MyoII activity was required to sustain their fast speed but not to orientate them toward the chemokine. Indeed, despite the fact that mDCs speed declined, these cells still migrated through the 3D gels, indicating that this molecular motor has a discrete function during their motility in this irregular microenvironment. Consistently, using microchannels of different sizes, we found that MyoII activity was essential to maintain fast cell speed specifically under strong confinement. Analysis of cell motility through micrometric holes further demonstrated that cell contractility facilitated mDCs passage only over very small gaps. Altogether, this work highlights that high contractility acts as an adaptation mechanism exhibited by mDCs to optimize their motility in restricted landscapes. Hence, MyoII activity ultimately facilitates their navigation in highly confined areas of structurally irregular tissues, contributing to the fine-tuning of their homing to LNs to initiate adaptive immune responses.
Barbier, L., Sáez, P. J., Attia, R., Lennon-Duménil, A. M., Lavi, I., Piel, M., & Vargas, P. (2019). Myosin II activity is selectively needed for migration in highly confined microenvironments in mature dendritic cells. Frontiers in Immunology, 10(APR). https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00747