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Intraclonal Plasticity in Mammary Tumors Revealed through Large-Scale Single-Cell Resolution 3D Imaging.

Cancer cell (2019-04-02)
Anne C Rios, Bianca D Capaldo, François Vaillant, Bhupinder Pal, Ravian van Ineveld, Caleb A Dawson, Yunshun Chen, Emma Nolan, Nai Yang Fu, Felicity C Jackling, Sapna Devi, David Clouston, Lachlan Whitehead, Gordon K Smyth, Scott N Mueller, Geoffrey J Lindeman, Jane E Visvader
ABSTRACT

Breast tumors are inherently heterogeneous, but the evolving cellular organization through neoplastic progression is poorly understood. Here we report a rapid, large-scale single-cell resolution 3D imaging protocol based on a one-step clearing agent that allows visualization of normal tissue architecture and entire tumors at cellular resolution. Imaging of multicolor lineage-tracing models of breast cancer targeted to either basal or luminal progenitor cells revealed profound clonal restriction during progression. Expression profiling of clones arising in Pten/Trp53-deficient tumors identified distinct molecular signatures. Strikingly, most clones harbored cells that had undergone an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, indicating widespread, inherent plasticity. Hence, an integrative pipeline that combines lineage tracing, 3D imaging, and clonal RNA sequencing technologies offers a comprehensive path for studying mechanisms underlying heterogeneity in whole tumors.