ResearchPad - focal-adhesions https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Functional and structural consequences of epithelial cell invasion by <i>Bordetella pertussis</i> adenylate cyclase toxin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7693 Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whopping cough, produces an adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA) that plays a key role in the host colonization by targeting innate immune cells which express CD11b/CD18, the cellular receptor of CyaA. CyaA is also able to invade non-phagocytic cells, via a unique entry pathway consisting in a direct translocation of its catalytic domain across the cytoplasmic membrane of the cells. Within the cells, CyaA is activated by calmodulin to produce high levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and alter cellular physiology. In this study, we explored the effects of CyaA toxin on the cellular and molecular structure remodeling of A549 alveolar epithelial cells. Using classical imaging techniques, biochemical and functional tests, as well as advanced cell mechanics method, we quantify the structural and functional consequences of the massive increase of intracellular cyclic AMP induced by the toxin: cell shape rounding associated to adhesion weakening process, actin structure remodeling for the cortical and dense components, increase in cytoskeleton stiffness, and inhibition of migration and repair. We also show that, at low concentrations (0.5 nM), CyaA could significantly impair the migration and wound healing capacities of the intoxicated alveolar epithelial cells. As such concentrations might be reached locally during B. pertussis infection, our results suggest that the CyaA, beyond its major role in disabling innate immune cells, might also contribute to the local alteration of the epithelial barrier of the respiratory tract, a hallmark of pertussis.

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<![CDATA[Aspirin-triggered resolvin D1 attenuates PDGF-induced vascular smooth muscle cell migration via the cyclic adenosine monophosphate/protein kinase A (cAMP/PKA) pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc0e7

Background and objectives

Resolvin D1 (RvD1) is a specialized pro-resolving lipid mediator that has been previously shown to attenuate vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration, a key process in the development of intimal hyperplasia. We sought to investigate the role of the cAMP/PKA pathway in mediating the effects of the aspirin-triggered epimer 17R-RvD1 (AT-RvD1) on VSMC migration.

Methods

VSMCs were harvested from human saphenous veins. VSMCs were analyzed for intracellular cAMP levels and PKA activity after exposure to AT-RvD1. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced migration and cytoskeletal changes in VSMCs were observed through scratch, Transwell, and cell shape assays in the presence or absence of a PKA inhibitor (Rp-8-Br-cAMP). Further investigation of the pathways involved in AT-RvD1 signaling was performed by measuring Rac1 activity, vasodilator stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) phosphorylation and paxillin translocation. Finally, we examined the role of RvD1 receptors (GPR32 and ALX/FPR2) in AT-RvD1 induced effects on VSMC migration and PKA activity.

Results

Treatment with AT-RvD1 induced a significant increase in cAMP levels and PKA activity in VSMCs at 5 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively. AT-RvD1 attenuated PDGF-induced VSMC migration and cytoskeletal rearrangements. These effects were attenuated by the PKA inhibitor Rp-8-Br-cAMP, suggesting cAMP/PKA involvement. Treatment of VSMC with AT-RvD1 inhibited PDGF-stimulated Rac1 activity, increased VASP phosphorylation, and attenuated paxillin localization to focal adhesions; these effects were negated by the addition of Rp-8-Br-cAMP. The effects of AT-RvD1 on VSMC migration and PKA activity were attenuated by blocking ALX/FPR2, suggesting an important role of this G-protein coupled receptor.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that AT-RvD1 attenuates PDGF-induced VSMC migration via ALX/FPR2 and cAMP/PKA. Interference with Rac1, VASP and paxillin function appear to mediate the downstream effects of AT-RvD1 on VSMC migration.

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<![CDATA[The role of embryo contact and focal adhesions during maternal recognition of pregnancy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823f5d5eed0c484639429

Maternal recognition of pregnancy (MRP) in the mare is an unknown process. In a non-pregnant mare on day 14 post-ovulation (PO), prostaglandin F (PGF) is secreted by the endometrium causing regression of the corpus luteum. Prior to day 14, MRP must occur in order to attenuate secretion of PGF. The embryo is mobile throughout the uterus due to uterine contractions from day of entry to day 14. It is unknown what signaling is occurring. Literature stated that infusing oil or placing a glass marble into the equine uterus prolongs luteal lifespan and that in non-pregnant mares, serum exosomes contain miRNA that are targeting the focal adhesion (FA) pathway. The hypothesis of this study is embryo contact with endometrium causes a change in abundance of focal adhesion molecules (FA) in the endometrium leading to decrease in PGF secretion. Mares (n = 3/day) were utilized in a cross-over design with each mare serving as a pregnant and non-pregnant (non-mated) control on days 9 and 11 PO. Mares were randomly assigned to collection day and endometrial samples and embryos were collected on the specified day. Biopsy samples were divided into five pieces, four for culture for 24 hours and one immediately snap frozen. Endometrial biopsies for culture were placed in an incubator with one of four treatments: [1] an embryo in contact on the luminal side of the endometrium, [2] beads in contact on the luminal side of the endometrium, [3] peanut oil in contact on the luminal side of the endometrium or [4] the endometrium by itself. Biopsies and culture medium were frozen for further analysis. RNA and protein were isolated from biopsies for PCR and Western blot analysis for FA. PGF assays were performed on culture medium to determine concentration of PGF. Statistics were performed using SAS (P ≤ 0.05 indicated significance). The presence of beads on day 9 impacted samples from pregnant mares more than non-pregnant mares and had very little impact on day 11. Presence of oil decreased FA in samples from pregnant mares on day 9. On day 11, oil decreased FA abundance in samples from non-pregnant mares. Embryo contact caused multiple changes in RNA and protein abundance in endometrium from both pregnant and non-pregnant mares. The PGF secretion after 24 hours with each treatment was also determined. On day 9, there was no change in PGF secretion compared to any treatments. On day 11, presence of peanut oil increased PGF secretion in samples from non-pregnant mares. In samples from non-pregnant mares, presence of an embryo decreased PGF secretion compared to control samples from non-pregnant mares. Results revealed that while beads and peanut oil may impact abundance of FA RNA and protein in endometrial samples, it does not appear to impact PGF secretion. Conversely, embryo contact for 24 hours with endometrium from a non-pregnant mare causes a decrease in PGF secretion. These results suggest that it is not just contact of any substance/object causing attenuation of PGF secretion, but the embryo itself is necessary to decrease PGF secretion.

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<![CDATA[Fluctuations in cell density alter protein markers of multiple cellular compartments, confounding experimental outcomes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8c6d5eed0c48496f14c

The life cycle of cultured proliferating cells is characterized by fluctuations in cell population density induced by periodic subculturing. This leads to corresponding changes in micro- and macroenvironment of the cells, accompanied by altered cellular metabolism, growth rate and locomotion. Studying cell density-dependent morphological, physiological and biochemical fluctuations is relevant for understanding basic cellular mechanisms and for uncovering the intrinsic variation of commonly used tissue culture experimental models. Using multiple cell lines, we found that expression levels of the autophagic markers p62 and LC3II, and lysosomal enzyme cathepsin D were altered in highly confluent cells as a consequence of nutrient depletion and cell crowding, which led to inactivation of the mTOR signaling pathway. Furthermore, both Lamp1 and active focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were reduced in high-density cells, while chemical inhibition or deletion of FAK led to alterations in lysosomal and autophagic proteins, as well as in the mTOR signaling. This was accompanied by alterations in the Hippo signaling pathway, while cell cycle checkpoint regulator p-cdc2 remained unaffected in at least one studied cell line. On the other hand, allometric scaling of cellular compartments in growing cell populations resulted in biochemically detectable changes in the plasma membrane proteins Na+K+-ATPase and cadherin, and nuclear proteins HDAC1 and Lamin B1. Finally, we demonstrate how treatment-induced changes in cell density and corresponding modulation of susceptible proteins may lead to ambiguous experimental outcomes, or erroneous interpretation of cell culture data. Together, our data emphasize the need to recognize cell density as an important experimental variable in order to improve scientific rigor of cell culture-based studies.

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<![CDATA[Insights into the Utility of the Focal Adhesion Scaffolding Proteins in the Anaerobic Fungus Orpinomyces sp. C1A]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad3ab0ee8fa60bb7154

Focal adhesions (FAs) are large eukaryotic multiprotein complexes that are present in all metazoan cells and function as stable sites of tight adhesion between the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the cell’s cytoskeleton. FAs consist of anchor membrane protein (integrins), scaffolding proteins (e.g. α-actinin, talin, paxillin, and vinculin), signaling proteins of the IPP complex (e.g. integrin-linked kinase, α-parvin, and PINCH), and signaling kinases (e.g. focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and Src kinase). While genes encoding complete focal adhesion machineries are present in genomes of all multicellular Metazoa; incomplete machineries were identified in the genomes of multiple non-metazoan unicellular Holozoa, basal fungal lineages, and amoebozoan representatives. Since a complete FA machinery is required for functioning, the putative role, if any, of these incomplete FA machineries is currently unclear. We sought to examine the expression patterns of FA-associated genes in the anaerobic basal fungal isolate Orpinomyces sp. strain C1A under different growth conditions and at different developmental stages. Strain C1A lacks clear homologues of integrin, and the two signaling kinases FAK and Src, but encodes for all scaffolding proteins, and the IPP complex proteins. We developed a protocol for synchronizing growth of C1A cultures, allowing for the collection and mRNA extraction from flagellated spores, encysted germinating spores, active zoosporangia, and late inactive sporangia of strain C1A. We demonstrate that the genes encoding the FA scaffolding proteins α-actinin, talin, paxillin, and vinculin are indeed transcribed under all growth conditions, and at all developmental stages of growth. Further, analysis of the observed transcriptional patterns suggests the putative involvement of these components in alternative non-adhesion-specific functions, such as hyphal tip growth during germination and flagellar assembly during zoosporogenesis. Based on these results, we propose putative alternative functions for such proteins in the anaerobic gut fungi. Our results highlight the presumed diverse functionalities of FA scaffolding proteins in basal fungi.

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<![CDATA[Effects of Plectin Depletion on Keratin Network Dynamics and Organization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadcab0ee8fa60bba058

The keratin intermediate filament cytoskeleton protects epithelial cells against various types of stress and is involved in fundamental cellular processes such as signaling, differentiation and organelle trafficking. These functions rely on the cell type-specific arrangement and plasticity of the keratin system. It has been suggested that these properties are regulated by a complex cycle of assembly and disassembly. The exact mechanisms responsible for the underlying molecular processes, however, have not been clarified. Accumulating evidence implicates the cytolinker plectin in various aspects of the keratin cycle, i.e., by acting as a stabilizing anchor at hemidesmosomal adhesion sites and the nucleus, by affecting keratin bundling and branching and by linkage of keratins to actin filament and microtubule dynamics. In the present study we tested these hypotheses. To this end, plectin was downregulated by shRNA in vulvar carcinoma-derived A431 cells. As expected, integrin β4- and BPAG-1-positive hemidesmosomal structures were strongly reduced and cytosolic actin stress fibers were increased. In addition, integrins α3 and β1 were reduced. The experiments furthermore showed that loss of plectin led to a reduction in keratin filament branch length but did not alter overall mechanical properties as assessed by indentation analyses using atomic force microscopy and by displacement analyses of cytoplasmic superparamagnetic beads using magnetic tweezers. An increase in keratin movement was observed in plectin-depleted cells as was the case in control cells lacking hemidesmosome-like structures. Yet, keratin turnover was not significantly affected. We conclude that plectin alone is not needed for keratin assembly and disassembly and that other mechanisms exist to guarantee proper keratin cycling under steady state conditions in cultured single cells.

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<![CDATA[Computational Tension Mapping of Adherent Cells Based on Actin Imaging]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daedab0ee8fa60bbfc10

Forces transiting through the cytoskeleton are known to play a role in adherent cell activity. Up to now few approaches haves been able to determine theses intracellular forces. We thus developed a computational mechanical model based on a reconstruction of the cytoskeleton of an adherent cell from fluorescence staining of the actin network and focal adhesions (FA). Our custom made algorithm converted the 2D image of an actin network into a map of contractile interactions inside a 2D node grid, each node representing a group of pixels. We assumed that actin filaments observed under fluorescence microscopy, appear brighter when thicker, we thus presumed that nodes corresponding to pixels with higher actin density were linked by stiffer interactions. This enabled us to create a system of heterogeneous interactions which represent the spatial organization of the contractile actin network. The contractility of this interaction system was then adapted to match the level of force the cell truly exerted on focal adhesions; forces on focal adhesions were estimated from their vinculin expressed size. This enabled the model to compute consistent mechanical forces transiting throughout the cell. After computation, we applied a graphical approach on the original actin image, which enabled us to calculate tension forces throughout the cell, or in a particular region or even in single stress fibers. It also enabled us to study different scenarios which may indicate the mechanical role of other cytoskeletal components such as microtubules. For instance, our results stated that the ratio between intra and extra cellular compression is inversely proportional to intracellular tension.

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<![CDATA[Phospholipid binding to the FAK catalytic domain impacts function]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdba02

Focal adhesion kinase is an essential nonreceptor tyrosine kinase that plays an important role in development, in homeostasis and in the progression of human disease. Multiple stimuli activate FAK, which requires a change in structure from an autoinhibited to activated conformation. In the autoinhibited conformation the FERM domain associates with the catalytic domain of FAK and PI(4,5)P2 binding to the FERM domain plays a role in the release of autoinhibition, activating the enzyme. An in silico model of FAK/PI(4,5)P2 interaction suggests that residues on the catalytic domain interact with PI(4,5)P2, in addition to the known FERM domain PI(4,5)P2 binding site. This study was undertaken to test the significance of this in silico observation. Mutations designed to disrupt the putative PI(4,5)P2 binding site were engineered into FAK. These mutants exhibited defects in phosphorylation and failed to completely rescue the phenotype associated with fak -/- phenotype fibroblasts demonstrating the importance of these residues in FAK function. The catalytic domain of FAK exhibited PI(4,5)P2 binding in vitro and binding activity was lost upon mutation of putative PI(4,5)P2 binding site basic residues. However, binding was not selective for PI(4,5)P2, and the catalytic domain bound to several phosphatidylinositol phosphorylation variants. The mutant exhibiting the most severe biological defect was defective for phosphatidylinositol phosphate binding, supporting the model that catalytic domain phospholipid binding is important for biochemical and biological function.

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<![CDATA[Canstatin inhibits hypoxia-induced apoptosis through activation of integrin/focal adhesion kinase/Akt signaling pathway in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd84

A hypoxic stress which causes apoptosis of cardiomyocytes is the main problem in the ischemic heart disease. Canstatin, a non-collagenous fragment of type IV collagen α2 chain, is an endogenous anti-angiogenic factor. We have previously reported that canstatin has a cytoprotective effect on cardiomyoblasts. In the present study, we examined the effects of canstatin on hypoxia-induced apoptosis in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts. Cell counting assay was performed to determine a cell viability. Western blotting was performed to detect expression of cleaved casepase-3 and phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and Akt. Immunocytochemical staining was performed to observe a distribution of αv integrin. Hypoxia (1% O2, 48 h) significantly decreased cell viability and increased cleaved caspase-3 expression. Canstatin (10–250 ng/ml) significantly inhibited these changes in a concentration-dependent manner. Cilengitide (1 μM), an αvβ3 and αvβ5 integrin inhibitor, significantly prevented the protective effects of canstatin on cell viability. Canstatin significantly increased phosphorylation of FAK and Akt under hypoxic condition, which were inhibited by cilengitide. LY294002, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Akt pathway, suppressed the canstatin-induced Akt phosphorylation and reversed the protective effects of canstatin. It was observed that hypoxia caused a localization of αv integrin to focal adhesion. In summary, we for the first time clarified that canstatin inhibits hypoxia-induced apoptosis via FAK and Akt pathways through activating integrins in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts.

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<![CDATA[A Unidirectional Cell Switching Gate by Engineering Grating Length and Bending Angle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d1ab0ee8fa60b64460

On a microgrooved substrate, cells migrate along the pattern, and at random positions, reverse their directions. Here, we demonstrate that these reversals can be controlled by introducing discontinuities to the pattern. On “V-shaped grating patterns”, mouse osteogenic progenitor MC3T3-E1 cells reversed predominately at the bends and the ends. The patterns were engineered in a way that the combined effects of angle- and length-dependence could be examined in addition to their individual effects. Results show that when the bend was placed closer to one end, migration behaviour of cells depends on their direction of approach. At an obtuse bend (135°), more cells reversed when approaching from the long segment than from the short segment. But at an acute bend (45°), this relationship was reversed. Based on this anisotropic behaviour, the designed patterns effectively allowed cells to move in one direction but blocked migrations in the opposing direction. This study demonstrates that by the strategic placement of bends and ends on grating patterns, we can engineer effective unidirectional switching gates that can control the movement of adherent cells. The knowledge developed in this study could be utilised in future cell sorting or filtering platforms without the need for chemotaxis or microfluidic control.

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<![CDATA[Deciphering Mode of Action of Functionally Important Regions in the Intrinsically Disordered Paxillin (Residues 1-313) Using Its Interaction with FAT (Focal Adhesion Targeting Domain of Focal Adhesion Kinase)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db17ab0ee8fa60bcd77c

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) play a major role in various cellular functions ranging from transcription to cell migration. Mutations/modifications in such IDPs are shown to be associated with various diseases. Current strategies to study the mode of action and regulatory mechanisms of disordered proteins at the structural level are time consuming and challenging. Therefore, using simple and swift strategies for identifying functionally important regions in unstructured segments and understanding their underlying mechanisms is critical for many applications. Here we propose a simple strategy that employs dissection of human paxillin (residues 1–313) that comprises intrinsically disordered regions, followed by its interaction study using FAT (Focal adhesion targeting domain of focal adhesion kinase) as its binding partner to retrace structural behavior. Our findings show that the paxillin interaction with FAT exhibits a masking and unmasking effect by a putative intra-molecular regulatory region. This phenomenon suggests how cancer associated mutations in paxillin affect its interactions with Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK). The strategy could be used to decipher the mode of regulations and identify functionally relevant constructs for other studies.

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<![CDATA[Paxillin and Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) Regulate Cardiac Contractility in the Zebrafish Heart]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9faab0ee8fa60b71d7b

An orchestrated interplay of adaptor and signaling proteins at mechano-sensitive sites is essential to maintain cardiac contractility and when defective leads to heart failure. We recently showed that Integrin-linked Kinase (ILK), ß-Parvin and PINCH form the IPP-complex to grant tuned Protein Kinase B (PKB) signaling in the heart. Loss of one of the IPP-complex components results in destabilization of the whole complex, defective PKB signaling and finally heart failure. Two components of IPP, ILK and ß-Parvin directly bind to Paxillin; however, the impact of this direct interaction on the maintenance of heart function is not known yet. Here, we show that targeted gene inactivation of Paxillin results in progressive decrease of cardiac contractility and heart failure in zebrafish without affecting IPP-complex stability and PKB phosphorylation. However, we found that Paxillin deficiency leads to the destabilization of its known binding partner Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) and vice versa resulting in degradation of Vinculin and thereby heart failure. Our findings highlight an essential role of Paxillin and FAK in controlling cardiac contractility via the recruitment of Vinculin to mechano-sensitive sites in cardiomyocytes.

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<![CDATA[Vinculin association with actin cytoskeleton is necessary for stiffness-dependent regulation of vinculin behavior]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcabb

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a major regulator of cell behavior. Recent studies have indicated the importance of the physical properties of the ECM, including its stiffness, for cell migration and differentiation. Using actomyosin-generated forces, cells pull the ECM and sense stiffness via cell-ECM adhesion structures called focal adhesions (FAs). Vinculin, an actin-binding FA protein, has emerged as a major player in FA-mediated mechanotransduction. Although vinculin is important for sensing ECM stiffness, the role of vinculin binding to actin in the ECM stiffness-mediated regulation of vinculin behavior remains unknown. Here, we show that an actin binding-deficient mutation disrupts the ECM stiffness-dependent regulation of CSB (cytoskeleton stabilization buffer) resistance and the stable localization of vinculin. These results suggest that the vinculin-actin interaction participates in FA-mediated mechanotransduction.

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<![CDATA[Unbiased pattern analysis reveals highly diverse responses of cytoskeletal systems to cyclic straining]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c92b3a7d5eed0c4843a4532

In mammalian cells, actin, microtubules, and various types of cytoplasmic intermediate filaments respond to external stretching. Here, we investigated the underlying processes in endothelial cells plated on soft substrates from silicone elastomer. After cyclic stretch (0.13 Hz, 14% strain amplitude) for periods ranging from 5 min to 8 h, cells were fixed and double-stained for microtubules and either actin or vimentin. Cell images were analyzed by a two-step routine. In the first step, micrographs were segmented for potential fibrous structures. In the second step, the resulting binary masks were auto- or cross-correlated. Autocorrelation of segmented images provided a sensitive and objective measure of orientational and translational order of the different cytoskeletal systems. Aligning of correlograms from individual cells removed the influence of only partial alignment between cells and enabled determination of intrinsic cytoskeletal order. We found that cyclic stretching affected the actin cytoskeleton most, microtubules less, and vimentin mostly only via reorientation of the whole cell. Pharmacological disruption of microtubules had barely any influence on actin ordering. The similarity, i.e., cross-correlation, between vimentin and microtubules was much higher than the one between actin and microtubules. Moreover, prolonged cyclic stretching slightly decoupled the cytoskeletal systems as it reduced the cross-correlations in both cases. Finally, actin and microtubules were more correlated at peripheral regions of cells whereas vimentin and microtubules correlated more in central regions.

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<![CDATA[Center or periphery? Modeling the effects of focal adhesion placement during cell spreading]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb995

Focal adhesions are often observed at the cell’s periphery. We provide an explanation for this observation using a system-level mathematical model of a cell interacting with a two-dimensional substrate. The model describes the biological cell as a hypoelastic continuum material whose behavior is coupled to a deformable, linear elastic substrate via focal adhesions that are represented by collections of linear elastic attachments between the cell and the substrate. The evolution of the focal adhesions is coupled to local intracellular stresses which arise from mechanical cell-substrate interactions. Using this model we show that the cell has at least three mechanisms through which it can control its intracellular stresses: focal adhesion position, size, and attachment strength. We also propose that one reason why focal adhesions are typically located on the cell periphery instead of its center is because peripheral focal adhesions allow the cell to be more sensitive to changes in the microenvironment. This increased sensitivity is caused by the fact that peripherally located focal adhesions allow the cells to modulate its intracellular properties over a much larger portion of the cell area.

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<![CDATA[Microtubule-Dependent Modulation of Adhesion Complex Composition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da4bab0ee8fa60b8cbfa

The microtubule network regulates the turnover of integrin-containing adhesion complexes to stimulate cell migration. Disruption of the microtubule network results in an enlargement of adhesion complex size due to increased RhoA-stimulated actomyosin contractility, and inhibition of adhesion complex turnover; however, the microtubule-dependent changes in adhesion complex composition have not been studied in a global, unbiased manner. Here we used label-free quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics to determine adhesion complex changes that occur upon microtubule disruption with nocodazole. Nocodazole-treated cells displayed an increased abundance of the majority of known adhesion complex components, but no change in the levels of the fibronectin-binding α5β1 integrin. Immunofluorescence analyses confirmed these findings, but revealed a change in localisation of adhesion complex components. Specifically, in untreated cells, α5-integrin co-localised with vinculin at peripherally located focal adhesions and with tensin at centrally located fibrillar adhesions. In nocodazole-treated cells, however, α5-integrin was found in both peripherally located and centrally located adhesion complexes that contained both vinculin and tensin, suggesting a switch in the maturation state of adhesion complexes to favour focal adhesions. Moreover, the switch to focal adhesions was confirmed to be force-dependent as inhibition of cell contractility with the Rho-associated protein kinase inhibitor, Y-27632, prevented the nocodazole-induced conversion. These results highlight a complex interplay between the microtubule cytoskeleton, adhesion complex maturation state and intracellular contractile force, and provide a resource for future adhesion signaling studies. The proteomics data have been deposited in the ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD001183.

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<![CDATA[Nanofiber Alignment Regulates NIH3T3 Cell Orientation and Cytoskeletal Gene Expression on Electrospun PCL+Gelatin Nanofibers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac3ab0ee8fa60bb16c4

To examine the influence of substrate topology on the behavior of fibroblasts, tissue engineering scaffolds were electrospun from polycaprolactone (PCL) and a blend of PCL and gelatin (PCL+Gel) to produce matrices with both random and aligned nanofibrous orientations. The addition of gelatin to the scaffold was shown to increase the hydrophilicity of the PCL matrix and to increase the proliferation of NIH3T3 cells compared to scaffolds of PCL alone. The orientation of nanofibers within the matrix did not have an effect on the proliferation of adherent cells, but cells on aligned substrates were shown to elongate and align parallel to the direction of substrate fiber alignment. A microarray of cyotoskeleton regulators was probed to examine differences in gene expression between cells grown on an aligned and randomly oriented substrates. It was found that transcriptional expression of eight genes was statistically different between the two conditions, with all of them being upregulated in the aligned condition. The proteins encoded by these genes are linked to production and polymerization of actin microfilaments, as well as focal adhesion assembly. Taken together, the data indicates NIH3T3 fibroblasts on aligned substrates align themselves parallel with their substrate and increase production of actin and focal adhesion related genes.

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<![CDATA[Bridging the gap]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da18ab0ee8fa60b7bfd5

A new study reveals that a protein called talin forms a vital link between microtubules and focal adhesions at the surface of cells.

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<![CDATA[Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells under Stress Increase Osteosarcoma Migration and Apoptosis Resistance via Extracellular Vesicle Mediated Communication]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db22ab0ee8fa60bcf749

Studies have shown that mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) from bone marrow are involved in the growth and metastasis of solid tumors but the mechanism remains unclear in osteosarcoma (OS). Previous studies have raised the possibility that OS cells may receive support from associated MSCs in the nutrient deprived core of the tumors through the release of supportive macromolecules and growth factors either in vesicular or non-vesicular forms. In the present study, we used stressed mesenchymal stem cells (SD-MSCs), control MSCs and OS cells to examine the hypothesis that tumor-associated MSCs in nutrient deprived core provide pro-proliferative, anti-apoptotic, and metastatic support to nearby tumor cells. Assays to study of the effects of SD-MSC conditioned media revealed that OS cells maintained proliferation when compared to OS cells grown under serum-starved conditions alone. Furthermore, OS cells in MSCs and SD-MSC conditioned media were significantly resistant to apoptosis and an increased wound healing rate was observed in cells exposed to either conditioned media or EVs from MSCs and SD-MSCs. RT-PCR assays of OS cells incubated with extracellular vesicles (EVs) from SD-MSCs revealed microRNAs that could potentially target metabolism and metastasis associated genes as predicted by in silico algorithms, including monocarboxylate transporters, bone morphogenic receptor type 2, fibroblast growth factor 7, matrix metalloproteinase-1, and focal adhesion kinase-1. Changes in the expression levels of focal adhesion kinase, STK11 were confirmed by quantitative PCR assays. Together, these data indicate a tumor supportive role of MSCs in osteosarcoma growth that is strongly associated with the miRNA content of the EVs released from MSCs under conditions that mimic the nutrient deprived core of solid tumors.

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<![CDATA[Smooth Muscle-Alpha Actin Inhibits Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation and Migration by Inhibiting Rac1 Activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da86ab0ee8fa60b9c3a6

Smooth muscle alpha-actin (SMA) is a marker for the contractile, non-proliferative phenotype of adult smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Upon arterial injury, expression of SMA and other structural proteins decreases and SMCs acquire a pro-migratory and proliferative phenotype. To what extent SMA regulates migration and proliferation of SMCs is unclear and putative signaling pathways involved remain to be elucidated. Here, we used lentiviral-mediated gene transfer and siRNA technology to manipulate expression of SMA in carotid mouse SMCs and studied effects of SMA. Overexpression of SMA results in decreased proliferation and migration and blunts serum-induced activation of the small GTPase Rac, but not RhoA. All inhibitory effects of SMA are rescued by expression of a constitutively active Rac1 mutant (V12rac1). Moreover, reduction of SMA expression by siRNA technology results in an increased activation of Rac. Taken together, this study identifies Rac1 as a downstream target for SMA to inhibit SMC proliferation and migration.

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