Lamellipodium is a myosin-independent mechanosensor.
ABSTRACT: The ability of adherent cells to sense changes in the mechanical properties of their extracellular environments is critical to numerous aspects of their physiology. It has been well documented that cell attachment and spreading are sensitive to substrate stiffness. Here, we demonstrate that this behavior is actually biphasic, with a transition that occurs around a Young's modulus of ∼7 kPa. Furthermore, we demonstrate that, contrary to established assumptions, this property is independent of myosin II activity. Rather, we find that cell spreading on soft substrates is inhibited due to reduced myosin-II independent nascent adhesion formation within the lamellipodium. Cells on soft substrates display normal leading-edge protrusion activity, but these protrusions are not stabilized due to impaired adhesion assembly. Enhancing integrin-ECM affinity through addition of Mn2+ recovers nascent adhesion assembly and cell spreading on soft substrates. Using a computational model to simulate nascent adhesion assembly, we find that biophysical properties of the integrin-ECM bond are optimized to stabilize interactions above a threshold matrix stiffness that is consistent with the experimental observations. Together, these results suggest that myosin II-independent forces in the lamellipodium are responsible for mechanosensation by regulating new adhesion assembly, which, in turn, directly controls cell spreading. This myosin II-independent mechanism of substrate stiffness sensing could potentially regulate a number of other stiffness-sensitive processes.
Project description:Using two-colour imaging and high resolution TIRF microscopy, we investigated the assembly and maturation of nascent adhesions in migrating cells. We show that nascent adhesions assemble and are stable within the lamellipodium. The assembly is independent of myosin II but its rate is proportional to the protrusion rate and requires actin polymerization. At the lamellipodium back, the nascent adhesions either disassemble or mature through growth and elongation. Maturation occurs along an alpha-actinin-actin template that elongates centripetally from nascent adhesions. Alpha-Actinin mediates the formation of the template and organization of adhesions associated with actin filaments, suggesting that actin crosslinking has a major role in this process. Adhesion maturation also requires myosin II. Rescue of a myosin IIA knockdown with an actin-bound but motor-inhibited mutant of myosin IIA shows that the actin crosslinking function of myosin II mediates initial adhesion maturation. From these studies, we have developed a model for adhesion assembly that clarifies the relative contributions of myosin II and actin polymerization and organization.
Project description:While cell-substrate adhesions that form between the protruding edge of a spreading cell and flat surfaces have been studied extensively, processes that regulate the maturation of filopodia adhesions are far less characterized. Since little is known about how the kinetics of formation or disassembly of filopodia adhesions is regulated upon integration into the lamellum, a kinetic analysis of the formation and disassembly of filopodia adhesions was conducted at the leading edge of ?3-integrin-EGFP-expressing rat embryonic fibroblasts spreading on fibronectin-coated glass or on soft polyacrylamide gels. Filopodia ?3-integrin adhesions matured only if the lamellipodium in their immediate vicinity showed cyclic protrusions and retractions. Filopodia ?3-integrin shaft adhesions elongated rapidly when they were overrun by the advancing lamellipodium. Subsequently and once the lamellipodium stopped its advancement at the distal end of the filopodia ?3-integrin adhesion, these ?3-integrin shaft adhesions started to grow sidewise and colocalize with the newly assembled circumferential actin stress fibers. In contrast, the suppression of the cyclic protrusions and retractions of the lamellipodium by blocking myosin light chain kinase suppressed the growth of filopodia adhesion and resulted in the premature disassembly of filopodia adhesions. The same failure to stabilize those adhesions was found for the advancing lamellipodium that rapidly overran filopodia shaft adhesions without pausing as seen often during fast cell spreading. In turn, plating cells on soft polyacrylamide gels resulted in a reduction of lamellipodia activity, which was partially restored locally by the presence of filopodia adhesions. Thus filopodia adhesions could also mature and be integrated into the lamellum for fibroblasts on soft polyacrylamide substrates.
Project description:Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a valuable cell source for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) can promote MSC differentiation into either smooth muscle cells (SMCs) or chondrogenic cells. Here we showed that the stiffness of cell adhesion substrates modulated these differential effects. MSCs on soft substrates had less spreading, fewer stress fibers and lower proliferation rate than MSCs on stiff substrates. MSCs on stiff substrates had higher expression of SMC markers ?-actin and calponin-1; in contrast, MSCs on soft substrates had a higher expression of chondrogenic marker collagen-II and adipogenic marker lipoprotein lipase (LPL). TGF-? increased SMC marker expression on stiff substrates. However, TGF-? increased chondrogenic marker expression and suppressed adipogenic marker expression on soft substrates, while adipogenic medium and soft substrates induced adipogenic differentiation effectively. Rho GTPase was involved in the expression of all aforementioned lineage markers, but did not account for the differential effects of substrate stiffness. In addition, soft substrates did not significantly affect Rho activity, but inhibited Rho-induced stress fiber formation and ?-actin assembly. Further analysis showed that MSCs on soft substrates had weaker cell adhesion, and that the suppression of cell adhesion strength mimicked the effects of soft substrates on the lineage marker expression. These results provide insights of how substrate stiffness differentially regulates stem cell differentiation, and have significant implications for the design of biomaterials with appropriate mechanical property for tissue regeneration.
Project description:When plated onto substrates, cell morphology and even stem-cell differentiation are influenced by the stiffness of their environment. Stiffer substrates give strongly spread (eventually polarized) cells with strong focal adhesions and stress fibers; very soft substrates give a less developed cytoskeleton and much lower cell spreading. The kinetics of this process of cell spreading is studied extensively, and important universal relationships are established on how the cell area grows with time. Here, we study the population dynamics of spreading cells, investigating the characteristic processes involved in the cell response to the substrate. We show that unlike the individual cell morphology, this population dynamics does not depend on the substrate stiffness. Instead, a strong activation temperature dependence is observed. Different cell lines on different substrates all have long-time statistics controlled by the thermal activation over a single energy barrier ?G ? 18 kcal/mol, whereas the early-time kinetics follows a power law ?t5. This implies that the rate of spreading depends on an internal process of adhesion complex assembly and activation; the operational complex must have five component proteins, and the last process in the sequence (which we believe is the activation of focal adhesion kinase) is controlled by the binding energy ?G.
Project description:A characteristic of integrins is their ability to transfer chemical and mechanical signals across the plasma membrane. Force generated by myosin II makes cells able to sense substrate stiffness and induce maturation of nascent adhesions into focal adhesions. In this paper, we present a comprehensive proteomic analysis of nascent and mature adhesions. The purification of integrin adhesion complexes combined with quantitative mass spectrometry enabled the identification and quantification of known and new adhesion-associated proteins. Furthermore, blocking adhesion maturation with the myosin II inhibitor blebbistatin markedly impaired the recruitment of LIM domain proteins to integrin adhesion sites. This suggests a common recruitment mechanism for a whole class of adhesion-associated proteins, involving myosin II and the zinc-finger-type LIM domain.
Project description:Focal adhesion (FA) assembly, mediated by integrin activation, responds to matrix stiffness; however, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we showed that ?1 integrin and caveolin-1 (Cav1) levels were decreased with declining matrix stiffness. Soft matrix selectively downregulated ?1 integrin by endocytosis and subsequent lysosomal degradation. Disruption of lipid rafts with methyl-?-cyclodextrin or nystatin, or knockdown of Cav1 by siRNA decreased cell spreading, FA assembly, and ?1 integrin protein levels in cells cultured on stiff matrix. Overexpression of Cav1, particularly the phospho-mimetic mutant Cav1-Y14D, averted soft matrix-induced decreases in ?1 integrin protein levels, cell spreading, and FA assembly in NMuMG cells. Interestingly, overexpression of an auto-clustering ?1 integrin hindered soft matrix-induced reduction of Cav1 and cell spreading, which suggests a reciprocal regulation between ?1 integrin and Cav1. Finally, co-expression of this auto-clustering ?1 integrin and Cav1-Y14D synergistically enhanced cell spreading, and FA assembly in HEK293T cells cultured on either stiff (?>?G Pa) or soft (0.2 kPa) matrices. Collectively, these results suggest that matrix stiffness governs the expression of ?1 integrin and Cav1, which reciprocally control each other, and subsequently determine FA assembly and turnover.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) interacts with integrins during cell spreading and motility, but little is known about the role of EGFR in these mechanosensing processes. Here we show, using two different cell lines, that in serum- and EGF-free conditions, EGFR or HER2 activity increase spreading and rigidity-sensing contractions on rigid, but not soft, substrates. Contractions peak after 15-20?min, but diminish by tenfold after 4?h. Addition of EGF at that point increases spreading and contractions, but this can be blocked by myosin-II inhibition. We further show that EGFR and HER2 are activated through phosphorylation by Src family kinases (SFK). On soft surfaces, neither EGFR inhibition nor EGF stimulation have any effect on cell motility. Thus, EGFR or HER2 can catalyse rigidity sensing after associating with nascent adhesions under rigidity-dependent tension downstream of SFK activity. This has broad implications for the roles of EGFR and HER2 in the absence of EGF both for normal and cancerous growth.
Project description:Recent discoveries have unveiled the roles of a complicated network of E3 ubiquitin ligases in regulating cell migration machineries. The E3 ubiquitin ligases Smurf1 and Cul/BACURD ubiquitinate RhoA to regulate stress fiber formation and cell polarity, and ASB2α ubiquitinates filamins to modulate cytoskeletal stiffness, thus regulating cell spreading and cell migration. HACE1, XIAP, and Skp1-Cul1-F-box bind to Rac1 and cause its ubiquitination and degradation, thus suppressing lamellipodium protrusions, while PIAS3, a SUMO ligase, activates Rac1 to promote lamellipodium dynamics. Smurf1 also enhances Rac1 activation but it does not ubiquitinate Rac1. Both Smurf1 and HECTD1 regulate focal adhesion (FA) assembly and (or) disassembly through ubiquitinating the talin head domain and phosphatidylinositol 4 phosphate 5-kinase type I γ (PIPKIγ90), respectively. Thus, E3 ubiquitin ligases regulate stress fiber formation, cell polarity, lamellipodium protrusions, and FA dynamics through ubiquitinating the key proteins that control these processes.
Project description:Rigidity sensing and durotaxis are thought to be important elements in wound healing, tissue formation, and cancer treatment. It has been challenging, however, to study the underlying mechanism due to difficulties in capturing cells during the transient response to a rigidity interface. We have addressed this problem by developing a model experimental system that confines cells to a micropatterned area with a rigidity border. The system consists of a rigid domain of one large adhesive island, adjacent to a soft domain of small adhesive islands grafted on a nonadhesive soft gel. This configuration allowed us to test rigidity sensing away from the cell body during probing and spreading. NIH 3T3 cells responded to the micropatterned rigidity border similarly to cells at a conventional rigidity border, by showing a strong preference for staying on the rigid side. Furthermore, cells used filopodia extensions to probe substrate rigidity at a distance in front of the leading edge and regulated their responses based on the strain of the intervening substrate. Soft substrates inhibited focal adhesion maturation and promoted cell retraction, whereas rigid substrates allowed stable adhesions and cell spreading. Myosin II was required for not only the generation of probing forces but also the retraction in response to soft substrates. We suggest that a myosin II-driven, filopodia-based probing mechanism ahead of the leading edge allows cells to migrate efficiently, by sensing physical characteristics before moving over a substrate to avoid backtracking.
Project description:Cell motility proceeds by cycles of edge protrusion, adhesion, and retraction. Whether these functions are coordinated by biochemical or biomechanical processes is unknown. We find that myosin II pulls the rear of the lamellipodial actin network, causing upward bending, edge retraction, and initiation of new adhesion sites. The network then separates from the edge and condenses over the myosin. Protrusion resumes as lamellipodial actin regenerates from the front and extends rearward until it reaches newly assembled myosin, initiating the next cycle. Upward bending, observed by evanescence and electron microscopy, results in ruffle formation when adhesion strength is low. Correlative fluorescence and electron microscopy shows that the regenerating lamellipodium forms a cohesive, separable layer of actin above the lamellum. Thus, actin polymerization periodically builds a mechanical link, the lamellipodium, connecting myosin motors with the initiation of adhesion sites, suggesting that the major functions driving motility are coordinated by a biomechanical process.