Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Biol Cell. 2003 Jun;14(6):2508-19. Epub 2003 Feb 21.

Alpha-smooth muscle actin is crucial for focal adhesion maturation in myofibroblasts.

Author information

Department of Pathology, Centre Medical Universitaire, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Cultured myofibroblasts are characterized by stress fibers, containing alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and by supermature focal adhesions (FAs), which are larger than FAs of alpha-SMA-negative fibroblasts. We have investigated the role of alpha-SMA for myofibroblast adhesion and FA maturation. Inverted centrifugation reveals two phases of initial myofibroblast attachment: during the first 2 h of plating microfilament bundles contain essentially cytoplasmic actin and myofibroblast adhesion is similar to that of alpha-SMA-negative fibroblasts. Then, myofibroblasts incorporate alpha-SMA in stress fibers, develop mature FAs and their adhesion capacity is significantly increased. When alpha-SMA expression is induced in 5 d culture by TGFbeta or low serum levels, fibroblast adhesion is further increased correlating with a "supermaturation" of FAs. Treatment of myofibroblasts with alpha-SMA fusion peptide (SMA-FP), which inhibits alpha-SMA-mediated contractile activity, reduces their adhesion to the level of alpha-SMA negative fibroblasts. With the use of flexible micropatterned substrates and EGFP-constructs we show that SMA-FP application leads to a decrease of myofibroblast contraction, shortly followed by disassembly of paxillin- and beta3 integrin-containing FAs; alpha5 integrin distribution is not affected. FRAP of beta3 integrin-EGFP demonstrates an increase of FA protein turnover following SMA-FP treatment. We conclude that the formation and stability of supermature FAs depends on a high alpha-SMA-mediated contractile activity of myofibroblast stress fibers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center