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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):C1224-38. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00518.2010. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Role of RhoA and its effectors ROCK and mDia1 in the modulation of deformation-induced FAK, ERK, p38, and MLC motogenic signals in human Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI 48912, USA.


Repetitive deformation enhances intestinal epithelial migration across tissue fibronectin. We evaluated the contribution of RhoA and its effectors Rho-associated kinase (ROK/ROCK) and mammalian diaphanous formins (mDia1) to deformation-induced intestinal epithelial motility across fibronectin and the responsible focal adhesion kinase (FAK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38, and myosin light chain (MLC) signaling. We reduced RhoA, ROCK1, ROCK2, and mDia1 by smart-pool double-stranded short-interfering RNAs (siRNA) and pharmacologically inhibited RhoA, ROCK, and FAK in human Caco-2 intestinal epithelial monolayers on fibronectin-coated membranes subjected to 10% repetitive deformation at 10 cycles/min. Migration was measured by wound closure. Stimulation of migration by deformation was prevented by exoenzyme C3, Y27632, or selective RhoA, ROCK1, and ROCK2 or mDia1 siRNAs. RhoA, ROCK inhibition, or RhoA, ROCK1, ROCK2, mDia1, and FAK reduction by siRNA blocked deformation-induced nuclear ERK phosphorylation without preventing ERK phosphorylation in the cytoplasmic protein fraction. Furthermore, RhoA, ROCK inhibition or RhoA, ROCK1, ROCK2, and mDia1 reduction by siRNA also blocked strain-induced FAK-Tyr(925), p38, and MLC phosphorylation. These results suggest that RhoA, ROCK, mDia1, FAK, ERK, p38, and MLC all mediate the stimulation of intestinal epithelial migration by repetitive deformation. This pathway may be an important target for interventions to promote mechanotransduced mucosal healing during inflammation.

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