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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2007 Dec;64(12):966-76.

Movement of stress fibers away from focal adhesions identifies focal adhesions as sites of stress fiber assembly in stationary cells.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany.


Force generated in contractile actin filament bundles (stress fibers-SFs) is transmitted to the extracellular matrix (ECM) via linker proteins and transmembrane integrins at focal adhesions (FAs). Though it has long been known that actin is rapidly exchanged in FAs, the connection between SFs and FAs has not been studied in detail. We introduced fiduciary marks on SFs by expressing GFP-palladin or GFP-alpha-actinin-1, which are both FA and dense body proteins, and by pattern bleaching of GFP-actin. Following fiduciary marks on SFs over time by time-lapse fluorescence microscopy, we detected assembly of SFs at FAs in stationary cells resulting in movement of SFs away from FAs with a velocity of 0.2-0.4 microm/min. Visualization of FAs in GFP-palladin/DsRed-paxillin double transfected cells showed that SF elongation was not accompanied by a change in FA length. SF elongation at FAs depended on actin polymerization and force as demonstrated by inhibitors of actin polymerization (cytochalasin D, jasplakinolide) and inhibitors of myosin-dependent contraction (blebbistatin, Y-27632), respectively. Our finding of SF assembly at FAs has important implications for SF formation, force transmission, and tension distribution within the actin cytoskeletal network of stationary cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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