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J Cell Biol. 2005 Oct 24;171(2):209-15.

Mechanical force mobilizes zyxin from focal adhesions to actin filaments and regulates cytoskeletal reinforcement.

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Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.


Organs and tissues adapt to acute or chronic mechanical stress by remodeling their actin cytoskeletons. Cells that are stimulated by cyclic stretch or shear stress in vitro undergo bimodal cytoskeletal responses that include rapid reinforcement and gradual reorientation of actin stress fibers; however, the mechanism by which cells respond to mechanical cues has been obscure. We report that the application of either unidirectional cyclic stretch or shear stress to cells results in robust mobilization of zyxin from focal adhesions to actin filaments, whereas many other focal adhesion proteins and zyxin family members remain at focal adhesions. Mechanical stress also induces the rapid zyxin-dependent mobilization of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein from focal adhesions to actin filaments. Thickening of actin stress fibers reflects a cellular adaptation to mechanical stress; this cytoskeletal reinforcement coincides with zyxin mobilization and is abrogated in zyxin-null cells. Our findings identify zyxin as a mechanosensitive protein and provide mechanistic insight into how cells respond to mechanical cues.

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