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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44167. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044167. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

Interplay between cytoskeletal stresses and cell adaptation under chronic flow.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, United States of America.


Using stress sensitive FRET sensors we have measured cytoskeletal stresses in α-actinin and the associated reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton in cells subjected to chronic shear stress. We show that long-term shear stress reduces the average actinin stress and this effect is reversible with removal of flow. The flow-induced changes in cytoskeletal stresses are found to be dynamic, involving a transient decrease in stress (phase-I), a short-term increase (3-6 min) (Phase-II), followed by a longer-term decrease that reaches a minimum in ~20 min (Phase-III), before saturating. These changes are accompanied by reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton from parallel F-actin bundles to peripheral bundles. Blocking mechanosensitive ion channels (MSCs) with Gd(3+) and GsMTx4 (a specific inhibitor) eliminated the changes in cytoskeletal stress and the corresponding actin reorganization, indicating that Ca(2+) permeable MSCs participate in the signaling cascades. This study shows that shear stress induced cell adaptation is mediated via MSCs.

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