Browsing by Subject "MIGRATING CELLS"

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  • Tojkander, Sari; Ciuba, Katarzyna; Lappalainen, Pekka (2018)
    Stress fibers are contractile actomyosin bundles that guide cell adhesion, migration, and morphogenesis. Their assembly and alignment are under precise mechanosensitive control. Thus, stress fiber networks undergo rapid modification in response to changes in biophysical properties of the cell's surroundings. Stress fiber maturation requires mechanosensitive activation of 5 0 AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which phosphorylates vasodilator- stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) to inhibit actin polymerization at focal adhesions. Here, we identify Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase 2 (CaMKK2) as a critical upstream factor controlling mechanosensitive AMPK activation. CaMKK2 and Ca2+ influxes were enriched around focal adhesions at the ends of contractile stress fibers. Inhibition of either CaMKK2 or mechanosensitive Ca2+ channels led to defects in phosphorylation of AMPK and VASP, resulting in a loss of contractile bundles and a decrease in cell-exerted forces. These data provide evidence that Ca2+, CaMKK2, AMPK, and VASP form a mechanosensitive signaling cascade at focal adhesions that is critical for stress fiber assembly.
  • Tojkander, Sari; Gateva, Gergana; Husain, Amjad; Krishnan, Ramaswamy; Lappalainen, Pekka (2015)
    Adhesion and morphogenesis of many non-muscle cells are guided by contractile actomyosin bundles called ventral stress fibers. While it is well established that stress fibers are mechanosensitive structures, physical mechanisms by which they assemble, align, and mature have remained elusive. Here we show that arcs, which serve as precursors for ventral stress fibers, undergo lateral fusion during their centripetal flow to form thick actomyosin bundles that apply tension to focal adhesions at their ends. Importantly, this myosin II-derived force inhibits vectorial actin polymerization at focal adhesions through AMPK-mediated phosphorylation of VASP, and thereby halts stress fiber elongation and ensures their proper contractility. Stress fiber maturation additionally requires ADF/cofilin-mediated disassembly of non-contractile stress fibers, whereas contractile fibers are protected from severing. Taken together, these data reveal that myosin-derived tension precisely controls both actin filament assembly and disassembly to ensure generation and proper alignment of contractile stress fibers in migrating cells.
  • Lehtimaki, Jaakko I.; Fenix, Aidan M.; Kotila, Tommi M.; Balistreri, Giuseppe; Paavolainen, Lassi; Varjosalo, Markku; Burnette, Dylan T.; Lappalainen, Pekka (2017)
    Contractile actomyosin bundles, stress fibers, are crucial for adhesion, morphogenesis, and mechanosensing in nonmuscle cells. However, the mechanisms by which nonmuscle myosin II (NM-II) is recruited to those structures and assembled into functional bipolar filaments have remained elusive. We report that UNC-45a is a dynamic component of actin stress fibers and functions as a myosin chaperone in vivo. UNC-45a knockout cells display severe defects in stress fiber assembly and consequent abnormalities in cell morphogenesis, polarity, and migration. Experiments combining structured-illumination microscopy, gradient centrifugation, and proteasome inhibition approaches revealed that a large fraction of NM-II and myosin-1c molecules fail to fold in the absence of UNC-45a. The remaining properly folded NM-II molecules display defects in forming functional bipolar filaments. The C-terminal UNC-45/Cro1/She4p domain of UNC-45a is critical for NM-II folding, whereas the N-terminal tetratricopeptide repeat domain contributes to the assembly of functional stress fibers. Thus, UNC-45a promotes generation of contractile actomyosin bundles through synchronized NM-II folding and filament-assembly activities.