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Exp Cell Res. 2014 Sep 10;327(1):57-67. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.07.026. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

Direct observation of α-actinin tension and recruitment at focal adhesions during contact growth.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA; Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.
2
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.
3
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.
4
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32310, USA; Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32310, USA.
5
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA; Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA. Electronic address: zhua@buffalo.edu.

Abstract

Adherent cells interact with extracellular matrix via cell-substrate contacts at focal adhesions. The dynamic assembly and disassembly of focal adhesions enables cell attachment, migration and growth. While the influence of mechanical forces on the formation and growth of focal adhesions has been widely observed, the force loading on specific proteins at focal adhesion complex is not clear. By co-expressing force sensitive α-actinin FRET probes and fluorescence labeled paxillin in MDCK cells, we have simultaneously observed the time-dependent changes in tension in α-actinin and the dynamics of focal adhesion during cell migration. We show that increase in tension in α-actinin at the focal adhesion coincides with elongation of the adhesion in its growth phase. The enlargement of focal adhesion is through a force sensitive recruitment of α-actinin and paxillin to the adhesion sites. Changes in α-actinin tension and correlated relocation of α-actinin in an active adhesion also guide the growth direction of the adhesion. The results support the model that cytoskeletal tension is coupled to focal adhesion via the linking protein, α-actinin at the adhesion complex. Lysophosphatidic acid caused an immediate increase in α-actinin tension followed by drastic focal adhesion formation and elongation. Application of Rho-ROCK inhibitor, Y27632, resulted in reversible reduction in tension in α-actinin and disassociation of focal adhesion, suggesting the involvement of myosin-II mediated contractile force in the focal adhesion dynamics. These findings suggest that α-actinin not only serves as a physical linker between cytoskeleton and integrin, but also participates in force transmission at adhesion sites to facilitate adhesion׳s growth.

KEYWORDS:

Cytoskeleton; FRET; Focal adhesions; Mechanical force; α-Actinin

PMID:
25088253
PMCID:
PMC4153383
DOI:
10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.07.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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