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In JoVE (1)
- Biophysical Assays to Probe the Mechanical Properties of the Interphase Cell Nucleus: Substrate Strain Application and Microneedle Manipulation
Other Publications (33)
- Journal of Cardiac Failure
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Biophysical Journal
- The Journal of Clinical Investigation
- Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
- Novartis Foundation Symposium
- The Journal of Cell Biology
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- The Journal of Clinical Investigation
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- The Journal of Clinical Investigation
- Methods in Cell Biology
- BioEssays : News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
- Aging Cell
- Chromosome Research : an International Journal on the Molecular, Supramolecular and Evolutionary Aspects of Chromosome Biology
- Circulation Research
- Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.)
- Nature Reviews. Molecular Cell Biology
- Circulation Research
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Journal of Biomedical Optics
- Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
- Circulation Research
- Human Molecular Genetics
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Methods in Cell Biology
- Current Opinion in Cell Biology
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering
- Nature Nanotechnology
- Biochemical Society Transactions
Articles by Jan Lammerding in JoVE
Biophysical Assays to Probe the Mechanical Properties of the Interphase Cell Nucleus: Substrate Strain Application and Microneedle Manipulation
Maria L. Lombardi1, Monika Zwerger1, Jan Lammerding1,2
1Brigham and Women's Hospital / Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, 2Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology & Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University
We present two independent, microscope-based tools to measure the induced nuclear and cytoskeletal deformations in single, living adherent cells in response to global or localized strain application. These techniques are used to determine nuclear stiffness (i.e., deformability) and to probe intracellular force transmission between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton.
Other articles by Jan Lammerding on PubMed
Journal of Cardiac Failure. Dec, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12555142
Remodeling of myocardial tissue requires a rearrangement of cells and extracellular matrix to form the new geometry through processes that are incompletely defined. Exploring new pathways beyond neurohormonal inhibition is essential for developing new therapies for the growing epidemic of heart failure.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jun, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12805567
The tetraspanin CD151 molecule associates specifically with laminin-binding integrins, including alpha6beta1. To probe strength of alpha6beta1-dependent adhesion to laminin-1, defined forces (0-1.5 nN) were applied to magnetic laminin-coated microbeads bound to NIH 3T3 cells. For NIH 3T3 cells bearing wild-type CD151, adhesion strengthening was observed, as bead detachment became more difficult over time. In contrast, mutant CD151 (with the C-terminal region replaced) showed impaired adhesion strengthening. Static cell adhesion to laminin-1, and detachment of beads coated with fibronectin or anti-alpha6 antibody were all unaffected by CD151 mutation. Hence, CD151 plays a key role in selectively strengthening alpha6beta1 integrin-mediated adhesion to laminin-1.
Biophysical Journal. Nov, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14581235
A three-dimensional viscoelastic finite element model is developed for cell micromanipulation by magnetocytometry. The model provides a robust tool for analysis of detailed strain/stress fields induced in the cell monolayer produced by forcing one microbead attached atop a single cell or cell monolayer on a basal substrate. Both the membrane/cortex and the cytoskeleton are modeled as Maxwell viscoelastic materials, but the structural effect of the membrane/cortex was found to be negligible on the timescales corresponding to magnetocytometry. Numerical predictions are validated against experiments performed on NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and previous experimental work. The system proved to be linear with respect to cytoskeleton mechanical properties and bead forcing. Stress and strain patterns were highly localized, suggesting that the effects of magnetocytometry are confined to a region extending <10 microm from the bead. Modulation of cell height has little effect on the results, provided the monolayer is >5 micro m thick. NIH 3T3 fibroblasts exhibited a viscoelastic timescale of approximately 1 s and a shear modulus of approximately 1000 Pa.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Feb, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 14755334
Mutations in the lamin A/C gene (LMNA) cause a variety of human diseases including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. The tissue-specific effects of lamin mutations are unclear, in part because the function of lamin A/C is incompletely defined, but the many muscle-specific phenotypes suggest that defective lamin A/C could increase cellular mechanical sensitivity. To investigate the role of lamin A/C in mechanotransduction, we subjected lamin A/C-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts to mechanical strain and measured nuclear mechanical properties and strain-induced signaling. We found that Lmna-/- cells have increased nuclear deformation, defective mechanotransduction, and impaired viability under mechanical strain. NF-kappaB-regulated transcription in response to mechanical or cytokine stimulation was attenuated in Lmna-/- cells despite increased transcription factor binding. Lamin A/C deficiency is thus associated with both defective nuclear mechanics and impaired mechanically activated gene transcription. These findings suggest that the tissue-specific effects of lamin A/C mutations observed in the laminopathies may arise from varying degrees of impaired nuclear mechanics and transcriptional activation.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. May, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15201149
Cardiac myocytes react to diverse mechanical demands with a multitude of transient and long-term responses to normalize the cellular mechanical environment. Several stretch-activated signaling pathways have been identified, most prominently guanine nucleotide binding proteins (G-proteins), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), Janus-associated kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK/STAT), protein kinase C (PKC), calcineurin, intracellular calcium regulation, and several autocrine and paracrine factors. Multiple levels of crosstalk exist between pathways. The cellular response to changes in the mechanical environment can lead to cardiac myocyte hypertrophy, cellular growth that can be accompanied by pathological myocyte dysfunction, and tissue fibrosis. Several candidates for the primary mechanosensor in cardiac myocytes have been identified, ranging from stretch-activated ion channels in the membrane to yet-unknown mechanosensitive mechanisms in the nucleus. New and refined experimental techniques will exploit advances in molecular biology and biological imaging to study mechanotransduction in isolated cells and genetically engineered mice to explore the function of individual proteins.
The Nuclear Membrane and Mechanotransduction: Impaired Nuclear Mechanics and Mechanotransduction in Lamin A/C Deficient Cells
Novartis Foundation Symposium. 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15773759
Mutations in the lamin A/C gene cause a variety of human diseases including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. The tissue specific effects of lamin mutations are unclear, in part because the function of lamin A/C is incompletely defined, but the many muscle specific phenotypes suggest that defective lamin A/C could increase cellular mechanical sensitivity. Lamin A/C deficient fibroblasts were subjected to mechanical strain to measure nuclear mechanical properties and strain-induced signalling. We found that lamin A/C deficient fibroblasts are characterized by impaired nuclear mechanics and mechanotransduction, reflected by increased nuclear deformations, increased nuclear fragility, attenuated expression of mechanosensitive genes, and impaired transcriptional activation, leading to impaired viability of mechanically strained cells. Lamins and other nuclear envelope proteins can thus affect several levels of the mechanotransduction cascade, altering nuclear and cytoskeletal mechanics as well as playing an important role in mechanically activated gene regulation. Individual mutations in the lamin A/C gene could potentially selectively interfere with any of these functions, explaining the tissue-specific effects observed in the laminopathies.
The Journal of Cell Biology. Aug, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16115958
Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy can be caused by mutations in the nuclear envelope proteins lamin A/C and emerin. We recently demonstrated that A-type lamin-deficient cells have impaired nuclear mechanics and altered mechanotransduction, suggesting two potential disease mechanisms (Lammerding, J., P.C. Schulze, T. Takahashi, S. Kozlov, T. Sullivan, R.D. Kamm, C.L. Stewart, and R.T. Lee. 2004. J. Clin. Invest. 113:370-378). Here, we examined the function of emerin on nuclear mechanics and strain-induced signaling. Emerin-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts have abnormal nuclear shape, but in contrast to A-type lamin-deficient cells, exhibit nuclear deformations comparable to wild-type cells in cellular strain experiments, and the integrity of emerin-deficient nuclear envelopes appeared normal in a nuclear microinjection assay. Interestingly, expression of mechanosensitive genes in response to mechanical strain was impaired in emerin-deficient cells, and prolonged mechanical stimulation increased apoptosis in emerin-deficient cells. Thus, emerin-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts have apparently normal nuclear mechanics but impaired expression of mechanosensitive genes in response to strain, suggesting that emerin mutations may act through altered transcriptional regulation and not by increasing nuclear fragility.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Nov, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16157602
The signaling steps that induce cardiac differentiation in embryonic stem (ES) cells are incompletely understood. We examined the effect of adhesion signaling including Src and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) on cardiogenesis in mouse ES cells using alpha-myosin heavy chain promoter-driven enhanced green fluorescent protein or luciferase as reporters. Cardiac transcription factors including Nkx2.5 and Tbx5 mRNA were first expressed at day 4 in hanging drop embryoid bodies, and adhesion of embryoid bodies to surfaces at or before that day strongly inhibited differentiation of ES cells to cardiomyocytes. Since adhesion signaling could suppress cardiogenesis through Src kinases, embryoid bodies were exposed to the small molecule PP2, known as a Src family kinase inhibitor. PP2 during embryoid body adhesion dramatically increased cardiomyocyte differentiation and decreased mRNA expression of neuronal cellular adhesion molecule and alpha-fetoprotein, neuroectodermal, and endodermal markers, respectively. Surprisingly, although there was an interaction between Src and FAK in cardiogenesis, the procardiogenic effect of PP2 appeared incompletely explained by Src kinase inhibition, since another Src family kinase inhibitor, SU6656, failed to induce cardiogenesis. Instead, PP2 specifically inhibited adhesion-induced FAK phosphorylation. In ES cells stably expressing FAK-related nonkinase, which functions as a dominant negative FAK, cell migration from embryoid bodies was inhibited, whereas alpha-myosin heavy chain expression and myosin-stained cardiomyocytes were increased, suggesting that reducing cell motility may contribute to cardiogenesis. These data indicate that FAK is a key regulator of cardiogenesis in mouse ES cells and that FAK signaling within embryoid bodies can direct stem cell lineage commitment.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Mar, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16511604
Lamin A and lamin C, both products of Lmna, are key components of the nuclear lamina. In the mouse, a deficiency in both lamin A and lamin C leads to slow growth, muscle weakness, and death by 6 weeks of age. Fibroblasts deficient in lamins A and C contain misshapen and structurally weakened nuclei, and emerin is mislocalized away from the nuclear envelope. The physiologic rationale for the existence of the 2 different Lmna products lamin A and lamin C is unclear, although several reports have suggested that lamin A may have particularly important functions, for example in the targeting of emerin and lamin C to the nuclear envelope. Here we report the development of lamin C-only mice (Lmna(LCO/LCO)), which produce lamin C but no lamin A or prelamin A (the precursor to lamin A). Lmna(LCO/LCO) mice were entirely healthy, and Lmna(LCO/LCO) cells displayed normal emerin targeting and exhibited only very minimal alterations in nuclear shape and nuclear deformability. Thus, at least in the mouse, prelamin A and lamin A appear to be dispensable. Nevertheless, an accumulation of farnesyl-prelamin A (as occurs with a deficiency in the prelamin A processing enzyme Zmpste24) caused dramatically misshapen nuclei and progeria-like disease phenotypes. The apparent dispensability of prelamin A suggested that lamin A-related progeroid syndromes might be treated with impunity by reducing prelamin A synthesis. Remarkably, the presence of a single Lmna(LCO) allele eliminated the nuclear shape abnormalities and progeria-like disease phenotypes in Zmpste24-/- mice. Moreover, treating Zmpste24-/- cells with a prelamin A-specific antisense oligonucleotide reduced prelamin A levels and significantly reduced the frequency of misshapen nuclei. These studies suggest a new therapeutic strategy for treating progeria and other lamin A diseases.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Sep, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16825190
Mutations in the nuclear envelope proteins lamins A and C cause a broad variety of human diseases, including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Cells lacking lamins A and C have reduced nuclear stiffness and increased nuclear fragility, leading to increased cell death under mechanical strain and suggesting a potential mechanism for disease. Here, we investigated the contribution of major lamin subtypes (lamins A, C, and B1) to nuclear mechanics by analyzing nuclear shape, nuclear dynamics over time, nuclear deformations under strain, and cell viability under prolonged mechanical stimulation in cells lacking both lamins A and C, cells lacking only lamin A (i.e. "lamin C-only" cells), cells lacking wild-type lamin B1, and wild-type cells. Lamin A/C-deficient cells exhibited increased numbers of misshapen nuclei and had severely reduced nuclear stiffness and decreased cell viability under strain. Lamin C-only cells had slightly abnormal nuclear shape and mildly reduced nuclear stiffness but no decrease in cell viability under strain. Interestingly, lamin B1-deficient cells exhibited normal nuclear mechanics despite having a significantly increased frequency of nuclear blebs. Our study indicates that lamins A and C are important contributors to the mechanical stiffness of nuclei, whereas lamin B1 contributes to nuclear integrity but not stiffness.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17488709
Mutations of the nuclear lamins cause a wide range of human diseases, including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Defects in A-type lamins reduce nuclear structural integrity and affect transcriptional regulation, but few data exist on the biological role of B-type lamins. To assess the functional importance of lamin B1, we examined nuclear dynamics in fibroblasts from Lmnb1(Delta/Delta) and wild-type littermate embryos by time-lapse videomicroscopy. Here, we report that Lmnb1(Delta/Delta) cells displayed striking nuclear rotation, with approximately 90% of Lmnb1(Delta/Delta) nuclei rotating at least 90 degrees during an 8-h period. The rotation involved the nuclear interior as well as the nuclear envelope. The rotation of nuclei required an intact cytoskeletal network and was eliminated by expressing lamin B1 in cells. Nuclear rotation could also be abolished by expressing larger nesprin isoforms with long spectrin repeats. These findings demonstrate that lamin B1 serves a fundamental role within the nuclear envelope: anchoring the nucleus to the cytoskeleton.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Jul, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17607350
Muscular dystrophies are often caused by mutations in cytoskeletal proteins that render cells more susceptible to strain-induced injury in mechanically active tissues such as skeletal or cardiac muscle. In this issue of the JCI, Han et al. report that dysferlin participates in membrane resealing in cardiomyocytes and that exercise results in increased membrane damage and disturbed cardiac function in dysferlin-deficient mice (see the related article beginning on page 1805). Thus, in addition to repetitive membrane damage, inadequate membrane repair may participate in the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies and cardiomyopathies.
Methods in Cell Biology. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17613312
The role of the nucleus in protecting and sequestering the genome is intrinsically mechanical, and disease-causing structural mutants in lamins and other components underscore this function. Various methods to measure nuclear mechanics, isolated or in situ, are outlined here in some detail.
BioEssays : News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Mar, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18293361
Changes in the shape and structural organization of the cell nucleus occur during many fundamental processes including development, differentiation and aging. In many of these processes, the cell responds to physical forces by altering gene expression within the nucleus. How the nucleus itself senses and responds to such mechanical cues is not well understood. In addition to these external forces, epigenetic modifications of chromatin structure inside the nucleus could also alter its physical properties. To achieve a better understanding, we need to elucidate the relationship between nuclear structure and material properties. Recently, new approaches have been developed to systematically investigate nuclear mechanical properties. These experiments provide important new insights into the disease mechanism of a growing class of tissue-specific disorders termed 'nuclear envelopathies'. Here we review our current understanding of what determines the shape and mechanical properties of the cell nucleus.
Increased Mechanosensitivity and Nuclear Stiffness in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Cells: Effects of Farnesyltransferase Inhibitors
Aging Cell. Jun, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18331619
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), reportedly a model for normal aging, is a genetic disorder in children marked by dramatic signs suggestive for premature aging. It is usually caused by de novo mutations in the nuclear envelope protein lamin A. Lamins are essential to maintaining nuclear integrity, and loss of lamin A/C results in increased cellular sensitivity to mechanical strain and defective mechanotransduction signaling. Since increased mechanical sensitivity in vascular cells could contribute to loss of smooth muscle cells and the development of arteriosclerosis--the leading cause of death in HGPS patients--we investigated the effect of mechanical stress on cells from HGPS patients. We found that skin fibroblasts from HGPS patients developed progressively stiffer nuclei with increasing passage number. Importantly, fibroblasts from HGPS patients had decreased viability and increased apoptosis under repetitive mechanical strain, as well as attenuated wound healing, and these defects preceded changes in nuclear stiffness. Treating fibroblasts with farnesyltransferase inhibitors restored nuclear stiffness in HGPS cells and accelerated the wound healing response in HGPS and healthy control cells by increasing the directional persistence of migrating cells. However, farnesyltransferase inhibitors did not improve cellular sensitivity to mechanical strain. These data suggest that increased mechanical sensitivity in HGPS cells is unrelated to changes in nuclear stiffness and that increased biomechanical sensitivity could provide a potential mechanism for the progressive loss of vascular smooth muscle cells under physiological strain in HGPS patients.
Chromosome Research : an International Journal on the Molecular, Supramolecular and Evolutionary Aspects of Chromosome Biology. 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18461486
While the structure of chromatin and its physical properties have been well studied on isolated chromatin fibres and DNA strands in vitro, its organization and function in the intact interphase nucleus is less clear. Chromatin organization is critical for transcriptional regulation and DNA replication, and mounting evidence suggests that cells respond to changes in the mechanical environment with alterations in nuclear architecture that are accompanied by modifications in gene expression. Since the nucleus forms part of a continuous physical network spanning the extracellular matrix, the cytoskeleton and the nuclear envelope, environmentally mediated forces can be transmitted to the nucleus and induce deformations of the chromatin.Here, we describe a subset of techniques that can be applied to probe nuclear mechanics, ranging from micropipette aspiration to strain experiments on living cells. These experiments probe the physical properties of the nuclear envelope, the nucleoplasm, and the chromatin. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each technique and elaborate on their use to examine specific aspects of chromatin. In the end, a combination of these technologies can provide important insights into the delicate relationship between form and function of chromatin organization in the living cell.
Circulation Research. Jun, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18535268
In eukaryotic cells, the nucleus contains the genome and is the site of transcriptional regulation. The nucleus is the largest and stiffest organelle and is exposed to mechanical forces transmitted through the cytoskeleton from outside the cell and from force generation within the cell. Here, we discuss the effect of intra- and extracellular forces on nuclear shape and structure and how these force-induced changes could be implicated in nuclear mechanotransduction, ie, force-induced changes in cell signaling and gene transcription. We review mechanical studies of the nucleus and nuclear structural proteins, such as lamins. Dramatic changes in nuclear shape, organization, and stiffness are seen in cells where lamin proteins are mutated or absent, as in genetically engineered mice, RNA interference studies, or human disease. We examine the different mechanical pathways from the force-responsive cytoskeleton to the nucleus. We also highlight studies that link changes in nuclear shape with cell function during developmental, physiological, and pathological modifications. Together, these studies suggest that the nucleus itself may play an important role in the response of the cell to force.
Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2009 | Pubmed ID: 18951177
The mechanical properties of the interphase nucleus have important implications for cellular function and can reflect changes in nuclear envelope structure and/or chromatin organization. Mutations in the nuclear envelope proteins lamin A and C cause several human diseases, such as Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, and dramatic changes in nuclear stiffness have been reported in cells from lamin A/C-deficient mice. We have developed a cellular strain technique to measure nuclear stiffness in intact, adherent cells and have applied this experimental method to fibroblasts from mouse models of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and to skin fibroblasts from laminopathy patients and healthy control subjects. The experimental protocol is based on measuring induced nuclear deformations in cells plated on a flexible silicone substrate; the nuclear stiffness can subsequently be inferred from the ratio of induced nuclear strain to the applied membrane strain. These experiments reveal that lamins A and C are important determinants of nuclear stiffness and that lamin mutations associated with muscular dystrophies and other laminopathies often result in disturbed nuclear stiffness that could contribute to the tissue-specific disease phenotypes.
Nature Reviews. Molecular Cell Biology. Jan, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19197333
Cells sense their physical surroundings through mechanotransduction - that is, by translating mechanical forces and deformations into biochemical signals such as changes in intracellular calcium concentration or by activating diverse signalling pathways. In turn, these signals can adjust cellular and extracellular structure. This mechanosensitive feedback modulates cellular functions as diverse as migration, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, and is crucial for organ development and homeostasis. Consequently, defects in mechanotransduction - often caused by mutations or misregulation of proteins that disturb cellular or extracellular mechanics - are implicated in the development of various diseases, ranging from muscular dystrophies and cardiomyopathies to cancer progression and metastasis.
Circulation Research. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19299643
An R120G mutation in alphaB-crystallin (CryAB(R120G)) causes desmin-related myopathy (DRM). In mice with cardiomyocyte-specific expression of the mutation, CryAB(R120G)-mediated DRM is characterized by CryAB and desmin accumulations within cardiac muscle, mitochondrial deficiencies, activation of apoptosis, and heart failure (HF). Excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is often a hallmark of HF and treatment with antioxidants can sometimes prevent the progression of HF in terms of contractile dysfunction and cardiomyocyte survival. It is unknown whether blockade of ROS is beneficial for protein misfolding diseases such as DRM. We addressed this question by blocking the activity of xanthine oxidase (XO), a superoxide-generating enzyme that is upregulated in our model of DRM. The XO inhibitor oxypurinol was administered to CryAB(R120G) mice for a period of 1 or 3 months. Mitochondrial function was dramatically improved in treated animals in terms of complex I activity and conservation of mitochondrial membrane potential. Oxypurinol also largely restored normal mitochondrial morphology. Surprisingly, however, cardiac contractile function and cardiac compliance were unimproved, indicating that the contractile deficit might be independent of mitochondrial dysfunction and the initiation of apoptosis. Using magnetic bead microrheology at the single cardiomyocyte level, we demonstrated that sarcomeric disarray and accumulation of the physical aggregates resulted in significant changes in the cytoskeletal mechanical properties in the CryAB(R120G) cardiomyocytes. Our findings indicate that oxypurinol treatment largely prevented mitochondrial deficiency in DRM but that contractility was not improved because of mechanical deficits in passive cytoskeletal stiffness.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Sep, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19605364
Thioredoxin-interacting protein (Txnip), originally characterized as an inhibitor of thioredoxin, is now known to be a critical regulator of glucose metabolism in vivo. Txnip is a member of the alpha-arrestin protein family; the alpha-arrestins are related to the classical beta-arrestins and visual arrestins. Txnip is the only alpha-arrestin known to bind thioredoxin, and it is not known whether the metabolic effects of Txnip are related to its ability to bind thioredoxin or related to conserved alpha-arrestin function. Here we show that wild type Txnip and Txnip C247S, a Txnip mutant that does not bind thioredoxin in vitro, both inhibit glucose uptake in mature adipocytes and in primary skin fibroblasts. Furthermore, we show that Txnip C247S does not bind thioredoxin in cells, using thiol alkylation to trap the Txnip-thioredoxin complex. Because Txnip function was independent of thioredoxin binding, we tested whether inhibition of glucose uptake was conserved in the related alpha-arrestins Arrdc4 and Arrdc3. Both Txnip and Arrdc4 inhibited glucose uptake and lactate output, while Arrdc3 had no effect. Structure-function analysis indicated that Txnip and Arrdc4 inhibit glucose uptake independent of the C-terminal WW-domain binding motifs, recently identified as important in yeast alpha-arrestins. Instead, regulation of glucose uptake was intrinsic to the arrestin domains themselves. These data demonstrate that Txnip regulates cellular metabolism independent of its binding to thioredoxin and reveal the arrestin domains as crucial structural elements in metabolic functions of alpha-arrestin proteins.
Journal of Biomedical Optics. Jul-Aug, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19725740
Cardiac architecture is inherently three-dimensional, yet most characterizations rely on two-dimensional histological slices or dissociated cells, which remove the native geometry of the heart. We previously developed a method for labeling intact heart sections without dissociation and imaging large volumes while preserving their three-dimensional structure. We further refine this method to permit quantitative analysis of imaged sections. After data acquisition, these sections are assembled using image-processing tools, and qualitative and quantitative information is extracted. By examining the reconstructed cardiac blocks, one can observe end-to-end adjacent cardiac myocytes (cardiac strands) changing cross-sectional geometries, merging and separating from other strands. Quantitatively, representative cross-sectional areas typically used for determining hypertrophy omit the three-dimensional component; we show that taking orientation into account can significantly alter the analysis. Using fast-Fourier transform analysis, we analyze the gross organization of cardiac strands in three dimensions. By characterizing cardiac structure in three dimensions, we are able to determine that the alpha crystallin mutation leads to hypertrophy with cross-sectional area increases, but not necessarily via changes in fiber orientation distribution.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Jun, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 19913544
Inherited mutations cause approximately 30% of all dilated cardiomyopathy cases, with autosomal dominant mutations in the LMNA gene accounting for more than one third of these. The LMNA gene encodes the nuclear envelope proteins lamins A and C, which provide structural support to the nucleus and also play critical roles in transcriptional regulation. Functional deletion of a single allele is sufficient to trigger dilated cardiomyopathy in humans and mice. However, whereas Lmna(-/-) mice develop severe muscular dystrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy and die by 8 weeks of age, heterozygous Lmna(+/-) mice have a much milder phenotype, with changes in ventricular function and morphology only becoming apparent at 1 year of age. Here, we studied 8- to 20-week-old Lmna(+/-) mice and wild-type littermates in a pressure overload model to examine whether increased mechanical load can accelerate or exacerbate myocardial dysfunction in the heterozygotes. While overall survival was similar between genotypes, Lmna(+/-) animals had a significantly attenuated hypertrophic response to pressure overload as evidenced by reduced ventricular mass and myocyte size. Analysis of pressure overload-induced transcriptional changes suggested that the reduced hypertrophy in the Lmna(+/-) mice was accompanied by impaired activation of the mechanosensitive gene Egr-1. In conclusion, our findings provide further support for a critical role of lamins A and C in regulating the cellular response to mechanical stress in cardiomyocytes and demonstrate that haploinsufficiency of lamins A and C alone is sufficient to alter hypertrophic responses and cardiac function in the face of pressure overload in the heart.
Circulation Research. Feb, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20133908
Human Molecular Genetics. Jul, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20421363
Lamin A is formed from prelamin A by four post-translational processing steps-farnesylation, release of the last three amino acids of the protein, methylation of the farnesylcysteine and the endoproteolytic release of the C-terminal 15 amino acids (including the farnesylcysteine methyl ester). When the final processing step does not occur, a farnesylated and methylated prelamin A accumulates in cells, causing a severe progeroid disease, restrictive dermopathy (RD). Whether RD is caused by the retention of farnesyl lipid on prelamin A, or by the retention of the last 15 amino acids of the protein, is unknown. To address this issue, we created knock-in mice harboring a mutant Lmna allele (LmnanPLAO) that yields exclusively non-farnesylated prelamin A (and no lamin C). These mice had no evidence of progeria but succumbed to cardiomyopathy. We suspected that the non-farnesylated prelamin A in the tissues of these mice would be strikingly mislocalized to the nucleoplasm, but this was not the case; most was at the nuclear rim (indistinguishable from the lamin A in wild-type mice). The cardiomyopathy could not be ascribed to an absence of lamin C because mice expressing an otherwise identical knock-in allele yielding only wild-type prelamin A appeared normal. We conclude that lamin C synthesis is dispensable in mice and that the failure to convert prelamin A to mature lamin A causes cardiomyopathy (at least in the absence of lamin C). The latter finding is potentially relevant to the long-term use of protein farnesyltransferase inhibitors, which lead to an accumulation of non-farnesylated prelamin A.
Direct Synthesis of Lamin A, Bypassing Prelamin a Processing, Causes Misshapen Nuclei in Fibroblasts but No Detectable Pathology in Mice
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20439468
Lamin A, a key component of the nuclear lamina, is generated from prelamin A by four post-translational processing steps: farnesylation, endoproteolytic release of the last three amino acids of the protein, methylation of the C-terminal farnesylcysteine, and finally, endoproteolytic release of the last 15 amino acids of the protein (including the farnesylcysteine methyl ester). The last cleavage step, mediated by ZMPSTE24, releases mature lamin A. This processing scheme has been conserved through vertebrate evolution and is widely assumed to be crucial for targeting lamin A to the nuclear envelope. However, its physiologic importance has never been tested. To address this issue, we created mice with a "mature lamin A-only" allele (Lmna(LAO)), which contains a stop codon immediately after the last codon of mature lamin A. Thus, Lmna(LAO/LAO) mice synthesize mature lamin A directly, bypassing prelamin A synthesis and processing. The levels of mature lamin A in Lmna(LAO/LAO) mice were indistinguishable from those in "prelamin A-only" mice (Lmna(PLAO/PLAO)), where all of the lamin A is produced from prelamin A. Lmna(LAO/LAO) exhibited normal body weights and had no detectable disease phenotypes. A higher frequency of nuclear blebs was observed in Lmna(LAO/LAO) embryonic fibroblasts; however, the mature lamin A in the tissues of Lmna(LAO/LAO) mice was positioned normally at the nuclear rim. We conclude that prelamin A processing is dispensable in mice and that direct synthesis of mature lamin A has little if any effect on the targeting of lamin A to the nuclear rim in mouse tissues.
Methods in Cell Biology. 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20816233
In eukaryotic cells, the nucleus is the largest and most rigid organelle. Therefore, its physical properties contribute critically to the biomechanical behavior of cells, e.g., during amoeboid migration or perfusion through narrow capillaries. Furthermore, it has been speculated that nuclear deformations could directly allow cells to sense mechanical stress, e.g., by modulating the access of specific transcription factors to their binding sites. Defects in nuclear mechanics have also been reported in a variety of muscular dystrophies caused by mutations in nuclear envelope proteins, indicating an important role in the maintenance of cells in mechanically stressed tissue. These findings have prompted the growing field of nuclear mechanics to develop advanced experimental methods to study the physical properties of the nucleus as a function of nuclear structure and organization, and to understand its role in physiology and disease. These experimental techniques include micropipette aspiration, atomic force microscopy of isolated nuclei, cellular strain and compression experiments, and microneedle manipulation of intact cells. These experiments have provided important insights into the mechanical behavior of the nucleus under physiological conditions, the distinct mechanical contributions of the nuclear lamina and interior, and how mutations in nuclear envelope proteins associated with a variety of human diseases can cause distinct alterations in the physical properties of the nucleus and contribute to the disease mechanism. Here, we provide a brief overview of the most common experimental techniques and their application and discuss the implication of their results on our current understanding of nuclear mechanics.
Current Opinion in Cell Biology. Feb, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21109415
During cell migration, the movement of the nucleus must be coordinated with the cytoskeletal dynamics at the leading edge and trailing end, and, as a result, undergoes complex changes in position and shape, which in turn affects cell polarity, shape, and migration efficiency. We here describe the steps of nuclear positioning and deformation during cell polarization and migration, focusing on migration through three-dimensional matrices. We discuss molecular components that govern nuclear shape and stiffness, and review how nuclear dynamics are connected to and controlled by the actin, tubulin and intermediate cytoskeleton-based migration machinery and how this regulation is altered in pathological conditions. Understanding the regulation of nuclear biomechanics has important implications for cell migration during tissue regeneration, immune defence and cancer.
Protein Farnesylation Inhibitors Cause Donut-shaped Cell Nuclei Attributable to a Centrosome Separation Defect
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Mar, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21383178
Despite the success of protein farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) in the treatment of certain malignancies, their mode of action is incompletely understood. Dissecting the molecular pathways affected by FTIs is important, particularly because this group of drugs is now being tested for the treatment of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. In the current study, we show that FTI treatment causes a centrosome separation defect, leading to the formation of donut-shaped nuclei in nontransformed cell lines, tumor cell lines, and tissues of FTI-treated mice. Donut-shaped nuclei arise during chromatin decondensation in late mitosis; subsequently, cells with donut-shaped nuclei exhibit defects in karyokinesis, develop aneuploidy, and are often binucleated. Binucleated cells proliferate slowly. We identified lamin B1 and proteasome-mediated degradation of pericentrin as critical components in FTI-induced "donut formation" and binucleation. Reducing pericentrin expression or ectopic expression of nonfarnesylated lamin B1 was sufficient to elicit donut formation and binucleated cells, whereas blocking proteasomal degradation eliminated FTI-induced donut formation. Our studies have uncovered an important role of FTIs on centrosome separation and define pericentrin as a (indirect) target of FTIs affecting centrosome position and bipolar spindle formation, likely explaining some of the anticancer effects of these drugs.
The Interaction Between Nesprins and Sun Proteins at the Nuclear Envelope is Critical for Force Transmission Between the Nucleus and Cytoskeleton
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21652697
Maintaining physical connections between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton is important for many cellular processes that require coordinated movement and positioning of the nucleus. Nucleo-cytoskeletal coupling is also necessary to transmit extracellular mechanical stimuli across the cytoskeleton to the nucleus, where they may initiate mechanotransduction events. The LINC (Linker of Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton) complex, formed by the interaction of nesprins and SUN proteins at the nuclear envelope, can bind to nuclear and cytoskeletal elements; however, its functional importance in transmitting intracellular forces has never been directly tested. This question is particularly relevant since recent findings have linked nesprin mutations to muscular dystrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy. Using biophysical assays to assess intracellular force transmission and associated cellular functions, we identified the LINC complex as a critical component for nucleo-cytoskeletal force transmission. Disruption of the LINC complex caused impaired propagation of intracellular forces and disturbed organization of the perinuclear actin and intermediate filament networks. Although mechanically induced activation of mechanosensitive genes was normal (suggesting that nuclear deformation is not required for mechanotransduction signaling) cells exhibited other severe functional defects after LINC complex disruption; nuclear positioning and cell polarization were impaired in migrating cells and in cells plated on micropatterned substrates, and cell migration speed and persistence time were significantly reduced. Taken together, our findings suggest that the LINC complex is critical for nucleo-cytoskeletal force transmission and that LINC complex disruption can result in defects in cellular structure and function that may contribute to the development of muscular dystrophies and cardiomyopathies.
Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering. Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21756143
Over the past two decades, the biomechanical properties of cells have emerged as key players in a broad range of cellular functions, including migration, proliferation, and differentiation. Although much of the attention has focused on the cytoskeletal networks and the cell's microenvironment, relatively little is known about the contribution of the cell nucleus. Here, we present an overview of the structural elements that determine the physical properties of the nucleus and discuss how changes in the expression of nuclear components or mutations in nuclear proteins can not only affect nuclear mechanics but also modulate cytoskeletal organization and diverse cellular functions. These findings illustrate that the nucleus is tightly integrated into the surrounding cellular structure. Consequently, changes in nuclear structure and composition are highly relevant to normal development and physiology and can contribute to many human diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, (premature) aging, and cancer.
Nature Nanotechnology. Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21765401
The ability to explore cell signalling and cell-to-cell communication is essential for understanding cell biology and developing effective therapeutics. However, it is not yet possible to monitor the interaction of cells with their environments in real time. Here, we show that a fluorescent sensor attached to a cell membrane can detect signalling molecules in the cellular environment. The sensor is an aptamer (a short length of single-stranded DNA) that binds to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and contains a pair of fluorescent dyes. When bound to PDGF, the aptamer changes conformation and the dyes come closer to each other, producing a signal. The sensor, which is covalently attached to the membranes of mesenchymal stem cells, can quantitatively detect with high spatial and temporal resolution PDGF that is added in cell culture medium or secreted by neighbouring cells. The engineered stem cells retain their ability to find their way to the bone marrow and can be monitored in vivo at the single-cell level using intravital microscopy.
Keeping the LINC: the Importance of Nucleocytoskeletal Coupling in Intracellular Force Transmission and Cellular Function
Biochemical Society Transactions. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22103516
Providing a stable physical connection between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton is essential for a wide range of cellular functions and it could also participate in mechanosensing by transmitting intra- and extra-cellular mechanical stimuli via the cytoskeleton to the nucleus. Nesprins and SUN proteins, located at the nuclear envelope, form the LINC (linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton) complex that connects the nucleus to the cytoskeleton; underlying nuclear lamins contribute to anchoring LINC complex components at the nuclear envelope. Disruption of the LINC complex or loss of lamins can result in disturbed perinuclear actin and intermediate filament networks and causes severe functional defects, including impaired nuclear positioning, cell polarization and cell motility. Recent studies have identified the LINC complex as the major force-transmitting element at the nuclear envelope and suggest that many of the aforementioned defects can be attributed to disturbed force transmission between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton. Thus mutations in nesprins, SUN proteins or lamins, which have been linked to muscular dystrophies and cardiomyopathies, may weaken or completely eliminate LINC complex function at the nuclear envelope and result in impaired intracellular force transmission, thereby disrupting critical cellular functions.