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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2005 Dec;289(6):H2291-301.

Costameres, focal adhesions, and cardiomyocyte mechanotransduction.

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Cardiovascular Institute, Loyola Univ. Medical Center, Bldg. 110, Rm. 5222, 2160 South First Ave., Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


Mechanotransduction refers to the cellular mechanisms by which load-bearing cells sense physical forces, transduce the forces into biochemical signals, and generate appropriate responses leading to alterations in cellular structure and function. This process affects the beat-to-beat regulation of cardiac performance but also affects the proliferation, differentiation, growth, and survival of the cellular components that comprise the human myocardium. This review focuses on the experimental evidence indicating that the costamere and its structurally related structure the focal adhesion complex are critical cytoskeletal elements involved in cardiomyocyte mechanotransduction. Biochemical signals originating from the extracellular matrix-integrin-costameric protein complex share many common features with those signals generated by growth factor receptors. The roles of key regulatory kinases and other muscle-specific proteins involved in mechanotransduction and growth factor signaling are discussed, and issues requiring further study in this field are outlined.

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