In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (27)

Articles by Christophe Guilluy in JoVE

Other articles by Christophe Guilluy on PubMed

Inhibition of RhoA/Rho Kinase Pathway is Involved in the Beneficial Effect of Sildenafil on Pulmonary Hypertension

British Journal of Pharmacology. Dec, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16205723

Inhibition of the type 5 phosphodiesterase and inhibition of Rho kinase are both effective in reducing pulmonary hypertension (PH). Here we investigate whether Rho kinase inhibition is involved in the beneficial effect of the type 5 phosphodiesterase inhibitor sildenafil on PH. Chronic hypoxia-induced PH in rats is associated with an increase in RhoA activity in pulmonary artery that was maximal after 2 days (10.7+/-0.9-fold increase, n=6, P<0.001). The activity of Rho kinase assessed by measuring the level of myosin phosphatase target subunit 1 (MYPT1) phosphorylation was also increased (5.7+/-0.8-fold over control, n=8). Chronic fasudil (30 mg kg(-1) day(-1); 14 days) and sildenafil (25 mg kg(-1) day(-1); 14 days) treatments reduced PH and pulmonary cardiovascular remodelling, and inhibited the MYPT1 phosphorylation in pulmonary artery from hypoxic rats by 82.3+/-3% (n=4) and by 76.6+/-2% (n=4), respectively. The inhibitory effect of sildenafil (10 microM) on MYPT1 phosphorylation was demonstrated by the loss of actin stress fibres in vascular smooth muscle cells. However, in vitro kinase assays indicated that sildenafil had no direct inhibitory action on Rho kinase activity. Sildenafil treatment induced increased RhoA phosphorylation and association to its cytosolic inhibitory protein, guanine dissociation inhibitor (GDI) in pulmonary artery.We propose that sildenafil inhibits RhoA/Rho kinase-dependent functions in pulmonary artery through enhanced RhoA phosphorylation and cytosolic sequestration by GDI. The inhibition of intracellular events downstream of RhoA thus participates in the beneficial effect of sildenafil on PH.

Regulation of Rho Proteins by Phosphorylation in the Cardiovascular System

Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. Aug, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16839863

The small G protein Rho signaling pathways are recognized as major regulators of cardiovascular functions, and activation of Rho proteins appears to be a common component for the pathogenesis of hypertension and vascular proliferative disorders. Rho proteins are tightly regulated, and recent evidence suggests that modulation of Rho protein signaling by phosphorylation of Rho proteins provides an additional simple mechanism for coordinating Rho protein functions. This regulation by phosphorylation is particularly important in the arterial wall, where RhoA protein expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells is controlled by the endothelium through the nitric oxide/cGMP-dependent kinase pathway.

Hyaluronan Induces Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Migration Through RHAMM-mediated PI3K-dependent Rac Activation

Cardiovascular Research. Nov, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16934786

Hyaluronan (HA) is an important constituent of the extracellular matrix and is known to regulate cellular events through binding to CD44 and the receptor for HA-mediated motility (RHAMM). Here we investigated the role of these receptors and the signaling pathways involved in HA-mediated effects in arterial smooth muscle cells (ASMC).

Transglutaminase-dependent RhoA Activation and Depletion by Serotonin in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Feb, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17142836

The small G protein RhoA plays a major role in several vascular processes and cardiovascular disorders. Here we analyze the mechanisms of RhoA regulation by serotonin (5-HT) in arterial smooth muscle. 5-HT (0.1-10 microM) induced activation of RhoA followed by RhoA depletion at 24-72 h. Inhibition of 5-HT1 receptors reduced the early phase of RhoA activation but had no effect on 5-HT-induced delayed RhoA activation and depletion, which were suppressed by the 5-HT transporter inhibitor fluoxetine and the transglutaminase inhibitor monodansylcadaverin and in type 2 transglutaminase-deficient smooth muscle cells. Coimmunoprecipitations demonstrated that 5-HT associated with RhoA both in vitro and in vivo. This association was calcium-dependent and inhibited by fluoxetine and monodansylcadaverin. 5-HT promotes the association of RhoA with the E3 ubiquitin ligase Smurf1, and 5-HT-induced RhoA depletion was inhibited by the proteasome inhibitor MG132 and the RhoA inhibitor Tat-C3. Simvastatin, the Rho kinase inhibitor Y-27632, small interfering RNA-mediated RhoA gene silencing, and long-term 5-HT stimulation induced Akt activation. In contrast, inhibition of 5-HT-mediated RhoA degradation by MG132 prevented 5-HT-induced Akt activation. Long-term 5-HT stimulation also led to the inhibition of the RhoA/Rho kinase component of arterial contraction. Our data provide evidence that 5-HT, internalized through the 5-HT transporter, is transamidated to RhoA by transglutaminase. Transamidation of RhoA leads to RhoA activation and enhanced proteasomal degradation, which in turn is responsible for Akt activation and contraction inhibition. The observation of transamidation of 5-HT to RhoA in pulmonary artery of hypoxic rats suggests that this process could participate in pulmonary artery remodeling and hypertension.

Ste20-related Kinase SLK Phosphorylates Ser188 of RhoA to Induce Vasodilation in Response to Angiotensin II Type 2 Receptor Activation

Circulation Research. May, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18420945

The small G protein Rho signaling pathways are recognized as major regulators of cardiovascular functions, and activation of Rho proteins appears to be a common component for the pathogenesis of hypertension and vascular proliferative disorders. Recent evidence suggests that modulation of Rho protein signaling by phosphorylation of Rho proteins provides an additional simple mechanism for coordinating Rho protein functions. Phosphorylation of RhoA by cAMP- or cGMP-activated kinase on Ser188 induces cytosolic sequestration of RhoA through increased interaction with guanine dissociation inhibitor, thereby resulting in inhibition of RhoA-dependent functions. Here we show that stimulation of angiotensin II (Ang II) type 2 receptor (AT(2)R) in vascular smooth muscle cells induces Ser188 phosphorylation of RhoA independently of cAMP- or cGMP-activated kinase. We identify the Ser/Thr kinase Ste20-related kinase SLK as a new kinase phosphorylating RhoA on Ser188. Activation of the signaling cascade involving Src homology 2 domain-containing protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1, casein kinase II and SLK is responsible for RhoA phosphorylation and inhibition of RhoA-mediated arterial contraction induced by AT(2)R activation. These results thus identify the molecular mechanism linking AT(2)R to RhoA inhibition and vasodilation.

RhoA and Rho Kinase Activation in Human Pulmonary Hypertension: Role of 5-HT Signaling

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Jun, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19299501

The complex and multifactorial pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) involves constriction, remodeling, and in situ thrombosis of pulmonary vessels. Both serotonin (5-HT) and Rho kinase signaling may contribute to these alterations.

The Rho Exchange Factor Arhgef1 Mediates the Effects of Angiotensin II on Vascular Tone and Blood Pressure

Nature Medicine. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20098430

Hypertension is one of the most frequent pathologies in the industrialized world. Although recognized to be dependent on a combination of genetic and environmental factors, its molecular basis remains elusive. Increased activity of the monomeric G protein RhoA in arteries is a common feature of hypertension. However, how RhoA is activated and whether it has a causative role in hypertension remains unclear. Here we provide evidence that Arhgef1 is the RhoA guanine exchange factor specifically responsible for angiotensin II-induced activation of RhoA signaling in arterial smooth muscle cells. We found that angiotensin II activates Arhgef1 through a previously undescribed mechanism in which Jak2 phosphorylates Tyr738 of Arhgef1. Arhgef1 inactivation in smooth muscle induced resistance to angiotensin II-dependent hypertension in mice, but did not affect normal blood pressure regulation. Our results show that control of RhoA signaling through Arhgef1 is central to the development of angiotensin II-dependent hypertension and identify Arhgef1 as a potential target for the treatment of hypertension.

Regulation of Rho GTPase Crosstalk, Degradation and Activity by RhoGDI1

Nature Cell Biology. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20400958

At steady state, most Rho GTPases are bound in the cytosol to Rho guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitors (RhoGDIs). RhoGDIs have generally been considered to hold Rho proteins passively in an inactive state within the cytoplasm. Here we describe an evolutionarily conserved mechanism by which RhoGDI1 controls the homeostasis of Rho proteins in eukaryotic cells. We found that depletion of RhoGDI1 promotes misfolding and degradation of the cytosolic geranylgeranylated pool of Rho GTPases while activating the remaining membrane-bound fraction. Because RhoGDI1 levels are limiting, and Rho proteins compete for binding to RhoGDI1, overexpression of an exogenous Rho GTPase displaces endogenous Rho proteins bound to RhoGDI1, inducing their degradation and inactivation. These results raise important questions about the conclusions drawn from studies that manipulate Rho protein levels. In many cases the response observed may arise not simply from the overexpression itself but from additional effects on the levels and activity of other Rho GTPases as a result of competition for binding to RhoGDI1; this may require a re-evaluation of previously published studies that rely exclusively on these techniques.

The Small GTPase RhoA Localizes to the Nucleus and is Activated by Net1 and DNA Damage Signals

PloS One. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21390328

Rho GTPases control many cellular processes, including cell survival, gene expression and migration. Rho proteins reside mainly in the cytosol and are targeted to the plasma membrane (PM) upon specific activation by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs). Accordingly, most GEFs are also cytosolic or associated with the PM. However, Net1, a RhoA-specific GEF predominantly localizes to the cell nucleus at steady-state. Nuclear localization for Net1 has been seen as a mechanism for sequestering the GEF away from RhoA, effectively rendering the protein inactive. However, considering the prominence of nuclear Net1 and the fact that a biological stimulus that promotes Net1 translocation out the nucleus to the cytosol has yet to be discovered, we hypothesized that Net1 might have a previously unidentified function in the nucleus of cells.

The Rho GEFs LARG and GEF-H1 Regulate the Mechanical Response to Force on Integrins

Nature Cell Biology. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21572419

How individual cells respond to mechanical forces is of considerable interest to biologists as force affects many aspects of cell behaviour. The application of force on integrins triggers cytoskeletal rearrangements and growth of the associated adhesion complex, resulting in increased cellular stiffness, also known as reinforcement. Although RhoA has been shown to play a role during reinforcement, the molecular mechanisms that regulate its activity are unknown. By combining biochemical and biophysical approaches, we identified two guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), LARG and GEF-H1, as key molecules that regulate the cellular adaptation to force. We show that stimulation of integrins with tensional force triggers activation of these two GEFs and their recruitment to adhesion complexes. Surprisingly, activation of LARG and GEF-H1 involves distinct signalling pathways. Our results reveal that LARG is activated by the Src family tyrosine kinase Fyn, whereas GEF-H1 catalytic activity is enhanced by ERK downstream of a signalling cascade that includes FAK and Ras.

AMPK Alpha 1-induced RhoA Phosphorylation Mediates Vasoprotective Effect of Estradiol

Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. Nov, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21852563

Estradiol (E2) mediates numerous beneficial effects assigned to estrogens, but whereas mechanisms have been described at the endothelial level, direct effects on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) are poorly documented. As evidence accumulates regarding the role of RhoA in vascular pathophysiology and the benefit of RhoA-Rho associated protein kinase (Rock) pathway inhibition, we analyzed if E2 could inhibit it in VSMC.

Latent KSHV Infection Increases the Vascular Permeability of Human Endothelial Cells

Blood. Nov, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21881052

Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is associated with 3 different human malignancies: Kaposi sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma, and multicentric Castleman disease. The KS lesion is driven by KSHV-infected endothelial cells and is highly dependent on autocrine and paracrine factors for survival and growth. We report that latent KSHV infection increases the vascular permeability of endothelial cells. Endothelial cells with latent KSHV infection display increased Rac1 activation and activation of its downstream modulator, p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1). The KSHV-infected cells also exhibit increases in tyrosine phosphorylation of vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin and β-catenin, whereas total levels of these proteins remained unchanged, suggesting that latent infection disrupted endothelial cell junctions. Consistent with these findings, we found that KSHV-infected endothelial cells displayed increased permeability compared with uninfected endothelial cells. Knockdown of Rac1 and inhibition of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulted in decreased permeability in the KSHV-infected endothelial cells. We further demonstrate that the KSHV K1 protein can activate Rac1. Rac1 was also highly activated in KSHV-infected endothelial cells and KS tumors. In conclusion, KSHV latent infection increases Rac1 and PAK1 activity in endothelial cells, resulting in the phosphorylation of VE-cadherin and β-catenin and leading to the disassembly of cell junctions and to increased vascular permeability of the infected endothelial cells.

Mechanically Induced Focal Adhesion Assembly Amplifies Anti-adipogenic Pathways in Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Stem Cells (Dayton, Ohio). Nov, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21898699

The fate of pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) is determined through integration of chemical, spatial, and physical signals. The suppression of MSC adipogenesis by mechanical stimuli, which requires Akt-induced inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) with β-catenin activation, can be enhanced by repetitive dosing within a single day. Here, we demonstrate that reapplication of cyclic strain within a 24-hour period leads to amplification of both Akt activation and its subsequent inhibition of GSK3β, such that total cycle number can be reduced while still inhibiting adipogenesis. Amplification of Akt signaling is facilitated by a dynamic restructuring of the cell in response to mechanical signals, as evidenced by a transient increase in focal adhesion (FA) number and increased RhoA activity. Preventing FA assembly or development of tension blocks activation of Akt by mechanical signals, but not by insulin. This indicates that the FA infrastructure is essential to the physical, but not necessarily the chemical, sensitivity, and responsiveness of the cell. Exploiting the transient nature of cytoskeletal remodeling may represent a process to enhance cell responsiveness to mechanical input and ultimately define the fate of MSCs with a minimal input.

Rho Protein Crosstalk: Another Social Network?

Trends in Cell Biology. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21924908

Many fundamental processes in cell biology are regulated by Rho GTPases, including cell adhesion, migration and differentiation. While regulating cellular functions, members of the Rho protein family cooperate or antagonize each other. The resulting molecular network exhibits many levels of interaction dynamically regulated in time and space. In the first part of this review we describe the main mechanisms of this crosstalk, which can occur at three different levels of the pathway: (i) through regulation of activity, (ii) through regulation of protein expression and stability, and (iii) through regulation of downstream signaling pathways. In the second part we illustrate the importance of Rho protein crosstalk with two examples: integrin-based adhesion and cell migration.

The Vinculin C-terminal Hairpin Mediates F-actin Bundle Formation, Focal Adhesion, and Cell Mechanical Properties

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22052910

Vinculin is an essential and highly conserved cell adhesion protein, found at both focal adhesions and adherens junctions, where it couples integrins or cadherins to the actin cytoskeleton. Vinculin is involved in controlling cell shape, motility, and cell survival, and has more recently been shown to play a role in force transduction. The tail domain of vinculin (Vt) contains determinants necessary for binding and bundling of actin filaments. Actin binding to Vt has been proposed to induce formation of a Vt dimer that is necessary for cross-linking actin filaments. Results from this study provide additional support for actin-induced Vt self-association. Moreover, the actin-induced Vt dimer appears distinct from the dimer formed in the absence of actin. To better characterize the role of the Vt strap and carboxyl terminus (CT) in actin binding, Vt self-association, and actin bundling, we employed smaller amino-terminal (NT) and CT deletions that do not perturb the structural integrity of Vt. Although both NT and CT deletions retain actin binding, removal of the CT hairpin (1061-1066) selectively impairs actin bundling in vitro. Moreover, expression of vinculin lacking the CT hairpin in vinculin knock-out murine embryonic fibroblasts affects the number of focal adhesions formed, cell spreading as well as cellular stiffening in response to mechanical force.

Analysis of RhoA and Rho GEF Activity in Whole Cells and the Cell Nucleus

Nature Protocols. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22134128

We have recently shown that a fraction of the total cellular pool of the small GTPase RhoA resides in the nucleus, and that the nuclear guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Net1 has a role in the regulation of its activity. In this protocol, we describe a method to measure both the activities of the nuclear pools of RhoA and Rho GEFs. This process required the development of a nuclear isolation protocol that is both fast and virtually free of cytosolic and membrane contaminants, as well as a redesign of existing RhoA and Rho GEF activity assays so that they work in nuclear samples. This protocol can be also used for other Rho GTPases and Rho GEFs, which have also been found in the nucleus. Completion of the procedure, including nuclear isolation and RhoA or Rho GEF activity assay, takes 1 h 40 min. We also include details of how to perform a basic assay of whole-cell extracts.

From Mechanical Force to RhoA Activation

Biochemistry. Sep, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22931484

Throughout their lives, all cells constantly experience and respond to various mechanical forces. These frequently originate externally but can also arise internally as a result of the contractile actin cytoskeleton. Mechanical forces trigger multiple signaling pathways. Several converge and result in the activation of the GTPase RhoA. In this review, we focus on the pathways by which mechanical force leads to RhoA regulation, especially when force is transmitted via cell adhesion molecules that mediate either cell-matrix or cell-cell interactions. We discuss both the upstream signaling events that lead to activation of RhoA and the downstream consequences of this pathway. These include not only cytoskeletal reorganization and, in a positive feedback loop, increased myosin-generated contraction but also profound effects on gene expression and differentiation.

Localized Tensional Forces on PECAM-1 Elicit a Global Mechanotransduction Response Via the Integrin-RhoA Pathway

Current Biology : CB. Nov, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23084990

Mechanical forces regulate cell behavior and function during development, differentiation, and tissue morphogenesis. In the vascular system, forces produced by blood flow are critical determinants not only of morphogenesis and function, but also of pathological states such as atherosclerosis. Endothelial cells (ECs) have numerous mechanotransducers, including platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) at cell-cell junctions and integrins at cell-matrix adhesions. However, the processes by which forces are transduced to biochemical signals and subsequently translated into downstream effects are poorly understood.

Mechanically Activated Fyn Utilizes MTORC2 to Regulate RhoA and Adipogenesis in Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Stem Cells (Dayton, Ohio). Nov, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23836527

Mechanical strain provides an anti-adipogenic, pro-osteogenic stimulus to mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) through generating intracellular signals and via cytoskeletal restructuring. Recently, mTORC2 has been shown to be a novel mechanical target critical for the anti-adipogenic signal leading to preservation of β-catenin. As mechanical activation of mTORC2 requires focal adhesions (FAs), we asked whether proximal signaling involved Src and FAK, which are early responders to integrin-FA engagement. Application of mechanical strain to marrow-derived MSCs was unable to activate mTORC2 when Src family kinases were inhibited. Fyn, but not Src, was specifically required for mechanical activation of mTORC2 and was recruited to FAs after strain. Activation of mTORC2 was further diminished following FAK inhibition, and as FAK phosphorylation (Tyr-397) required Fyn activity, provided evidence of Fyn/FAK cooperativity. Inhibition of Fyn also prevented mechanical activation of RhoA as well as mechanically induced actin stress fiber formation. We thus asked whether RhoA activation by strain was dependent on mTORC2 downstream of Fyn. Inhibition of mTORC2 or its downstream substrate, Akt, both prevented mechanical RhoA activation, indicating that Fyn/FAK affects cytoskeletal structure via mTORC2. We then sought to ascertain whether this Fyn-initiated signal pathway modulated MSC lineage decisions. siRNA knockdown of Fyn, but not Src, led to rapid attainment of adipogenic phenotype with significant increases in adipocyte protein 2, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, adiponectin, and perilipin. As such, Fyn expression in mdMSCs contributes to basal cytoskeletal architecture and, when associated with FAs, functions as a proximal mechanical effector for environmental signals that influence MSC lineage allocation.

The RhoA Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor, LARG, Mediates ICAM-1-dependent Mechanotransduction in Endothelial Cells to Stimulate Transendothelial Migration

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Apr, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24585879

RhoA-mediated cytoskeletal rearrangements in endothelial cells (ECs) play an active role in leukocyte transendothelial cell migration (TEM), a normal physiological process in which leukocytes cross the endothelium to enter the underlying tissue. Although much has been learned about RhoA signaling pathways downstream from ICAM-1 in ECs, little is known about the consequences of the tractional forces that leukocytes generate on ECs as they migrate over the surface before TEM. We have found that after applying mechanical forces to ICAM-1 clusters, there is an increase in cellular stiffening and enhanced RhoA signaling compared with ICAM-1 clustering alone. We have identified that leukemia-associated Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (LARG), also known as Rho GEF 12 (ARHGEF12) acts downstream of clustered ICAM-1 to increase RhoA activity, and that this pathway is further enhanced by mechanical force on ICAM-1. Depletion of LARG decreases leukocyte crawling and inhibits TEM. To our knowledge, this is the first report of endothelial LARG regulating leukocyte behavior and EC stiffening in response to tractional forces generated by leukocytes.

Isolated Nuclei Adapt to Force and Reveal a Mechanotransduction Pathway in the Nucleus

Nature Cell Biology. Apr, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24609268

Mechanical forces influence many aspects of cell behaviour. Forces are detected and transduced into biochemical signals by force-bearing molecular elements located at the cell surface, in adhesion complexes or in cytoskeletal structures. The nucleus is physically connected to the cell surface through the cytoskeleton and the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex, allowing rapid mechanical stress transmission from adhesions to the nucleus. Although it has been demonstrated that nuclei experience force, the direct effect of force on the nucleus is not known. Here we show that isolated nuclei are able to respond to force by adjusting their stiffness to resist the applied tension. Using magnetic tweezers, we found that applying force on nesprin-1 triggers nuclear stiffening that does not involve chromatin or nuclear actin, but requires an intact nuclear lamina and emerin, a protein of the inner nuclear membrane. Emerin becomes tyrosine phosphorylated in response to force and mediates the nuclear mechanical response to tension. Our results demonstrate that mechanotransduction is not restricted to cell surface receptors and adhesions but can occur in the nucleus.

Vinculin Phosphorylation Differentially Regulates Mechanotransduction at Cell-cell and Cell-matrix Adhesions

The Journal of Cell Biology. Apr, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24751539

Cells experience mechanical forces throughout their lifetimes. Vinculin is critical for transmitting these forces, yet how it achieves its distinct functions at cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesions remains unanswered. Here, we show vinculin is phosphorylated at Y822 in cell-cell, but not cell-matrix, adhesions. Phosphorylation at Y822 was elevated when forces were applied to E-cadherin and was required for vinculin to integrate into the cadherin complex. The mutation Y822F ablated these activities and prevented cells from stiffening in response to forces on E-cadherin. In contrast, Y822 phosphorylation was not required for vinculin functions in cell-matrix adhesions, including integrin-induced cell stiffening. Finally, forces applied to E-cadherin activated Abelson (Abl) tyrosine kinase to phosphorylate vinculin; Abl inhibition mimicked the loss of vinculin phosphorylation. These data reveal an unexpected regulatory mechanism in which vinculin Y822 phosphorylation determines whether cadherins transmit force and provides a paradigm for how a shared component of adhesions can produce biologically distinct functions.

Haemodynamic and Extracellular Matrix Cues Regulate the Mechanical Phenotype and Stiffness of Aortic Endothelial Cells

Nature Communications. Jun, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24917553

Endothelial cells (ECs) lining blood vessels express many mechanosensors, including platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1), that convert mechanical force into biochemical signals. While it is accepted that mechanical stresses and the mechanical properties of ECs regulate vessel health, the relationship between force and biological response remains elusive. Here we show that ECs integrate mechanical forces and extracellular matrix (ECM) cues to modulate their own mechanical properties. We demonstrate that the ECM influences EC response to tension on PECAM-1. ECs adherent on collagen display divergent stiffening and focal adhesion growth compared with ECs on fibronectin. This is because of protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent serine phosphorylation and inactivation of RhoA. PKA signalling regulates focal adhesion dynamics and EC compliance in response to shear stress in vitro and in vivo. Our study identifies an ECM-specific, mechanosensitive signalling pathway that regulates EC compliance and may serve as an atheroprotective mechanism that maintains blood vessel integrity in vivo.

Nuclear Mechanotransduction: Forcing the Nucleus to Respond

Nucleus (Austin, Tex.). 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25738642

Cell phenotype and fate are driven by the mechanical properties of their surrounding environment. Changes in matrix rigidity or application of force have been shown to impact profoundly cell behavior and phenotype, demonstrating that the molecular mechanisms which "sense" and transduce these signals into biochemical pathways are central in cell biology. In this commentary, we discuss recent evidence showing that mechanotransduction mechanisms occur in the nucleus, allowing dynamic regulation of the nucleoskeleton in response to mechanical stress. We will review this nucleoskeletal response and its impact on both nuclear structure and function.

Focal Adhesions, Stress Fibers and Mechanical Tension

Experimental Cell Research. Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26519907

Stress fibers and focal adhesions are complex protein arrays that produce, transmit and sense mechanical tension. Evidence accumulated over many years led to the conclusion that mechanical tension generated within stress fibers contributes to the assembly of both stress fibers themselves and their associated focal adhesions. However, several lines of evidence have recently been presented against this model. Here we discuss the evidence for and against the role of mechanical tension in driving the assembly of these structures. We also consider how their assembly is influenced by the rigidity of the substratum to which cells are adhering. Finally, we discuss the recently identified connections between stress fibers and the nucleus, and the roles that these may play, both in cell migration and regulating nuclear function.

Under Pressure: Mechanical Stress Management in the Nucleus

Cells. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27314389

Cells are constantly adjusting to the mechanical properties of their surroundings, operating a complex mechanochemical feedback, which hinges on mechanotransduction mechanisms. Whereas adhesion structures have been shown to play a central role in mechanotransduction, it now emerges that the nucleus may act as a mechanosensitive structure. Here, we review recent advances demonstrating that mechanical stress emanating from the cytoskeleton can activate pathways in the nucleus which eventually impact both its structure and the transcriptional machinery.

Mechanotransduction Via the Nuclear Envelope: a Distant Reflection of the Cell Surface

Current Opinion in Cell Biology. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27876470

As the largest and stiffest organelle in the cell, the nucleus can be subjected to significant forces generated by the cytoskeleton to adjust its shape and position, and accommodate the cellular machinery during cell migration, differentiation or division. As it was anticipated, recent work showed that mechanosensitive mechanisms exist in the nucleus and regulate its structure and function in response to mechanical force. While the molecular mechanisms that mediate this response are only beginning to be elucidated, the nuclear envelope seems to play a central role in this process. Here, we review these nuclear mechanosensitive mechanisms and highlight their functional homology with those located at the cell surface. Additionally, we discuss how these nuclear envelope mechanisms function during adhesion and migration, and how they participate in cytoskeletal organization, via direct physical contact or signaling event regulation.

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