skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, June 13 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, June 14 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Shear-induced damped oscillations in an epithelium depend on actomyosin contraction and E-cadherin cell adhesion
Shear forces between cells occur during global changes in multicellular organization during morphogenesis and tissue growth, yet how cells sense shear forces and propagate a response across a tissue is unknown. We found that applying exogenous shear at the midline of an epithelium induced a local, short-term deformation near the shear plane, and a long-term collective oscillatory movement across the epithelium that spread from the shear-plane and gradually dampened. Inhibiting actomyosin contraction or E-cadherin trans-cell adhesion blocked oscillations, whereas stabilizing actin filaments prolonged oscillations. Combining these data with a model of epithelium mechanics supports a mechanism involving the generation of a shear-induced mechanical event at the shear plane which is then relayed across the epithelium by actomyosin contraction linked through E-cadherin. This causes an imbalance of forces in the epithelium, which is gradually dissipated through oscillatory cell movements and actin filament turnover to restore the force balance across the epithelium.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1834760
NSF-PAR ID:
10096029
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
eLife
Volume:
7
ISSN:
2050-084X
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. By definition of multicellularity, all animals need to keep their cells attached and intact, despite internal and external forces. Cohesion between epithelial cells provides this key feature. To better understand fundamental limits of this cohesion, we study the epithelium mechanics of an ultrathin (∼25 μm) primitive marine animalTrichoplax adhaerens, composed essentially of two flat epithelial layers. With no known extracellular matrix and no nerves or muscles,T. adhaerenshas been claimed to be the “simplest known living animal,” yet is still capable of coordinated locomotion and behavior. Here we report the discovery of the fastest epithelial cellular contractions known in any metazoan, to be found inT. adhaerensdorsal epithelium (50% shrinkage of apical cell area within one second, at least an order of magnitude faster than other known examples). Live imaging reveals emergent contractile patterns that are mostly sporadic single-cell events, but also include propagating contraction waves across the tissue. We show that cell contraction speed can be explained by current models of nonmuscle actin–myosin bundles without load, while the tissue architecture and unique mechanical properties are softening the tissue, minimizing the load on a contracting cell. We propose a hypothesis, in which the physiological role of the contraction dynamics is to resist external stresses while avoiding tissue rupture (“active cohesion”), a concept that can be further applied to engineering of active materials.

     
    more » « less
  2. The shape of cells is the outcome of the balance of inner forces produced by the actomyosin network and the resistive forces produced by cell adhesion to their environment. The specific contributions of contractile, anchoring and friction forces to network deformation rate and orientation are difficult to disentangle in living cells where they influence each other. Here, we reconstituted contractile actomyosin networks in vitro to study specifically the role of the friction forces between the network and its anchoring substrate. To modulate the magnitude and spatial distribution of friction forces, we used glass or lipids surface micropatterning to control the initial shape of the network. We adapted the concentration of Nucleating Promoting Factor on each surface to induce the assembly of actin networks of similar densities and compare the deformation of the network toward the centroid of the pattern shape upon myosin-induced contraction. We found that actin network deformation was faster and more coordinated on lipid bilayers than on glass, showing the resistance of friction to network contraction. To further study the role of the spatial distribution of these friction forces, we designed heterogeneous micropatterns made of glass and lipids. The deformation upon contraction was no longer symmetric but biased toward the region of higher friction. Furthermore, we showed that the pattern of friction could robustly drive network contraction and dominate the contribution of asymmetric distributions of myosins. Therefore, we demonstrate that during contraction, both the active and resistive forces are essential to direct the actin network deformation.

     
    more » « less
  3. Epithelial cells assemble specialized actomyosin structures at E-Cadherin–based cell–cell junctions, and the force exerted drives cell shape change during morphogenesis. The mechanisms that build this supramolecular actomyosin structure remain unclear. We used ZO-knockdown MDCK cells, which assemble a robust, polarized, and highly organized actomyosin cytoskeleton at the zonula adherens, combining genetic and pharmacologic approaches with superresolution microscopy to define molecular machines required. To our surprise, inhibiting individual actin assembly pathways (Arp2/3, formins, or Ena/VASP) did not prevent or delay assembly of this polarized actomyosin structure. Instead, as junctions matured, micron-scale supramolecular myosin arrays assembled, with aligned stacks of myosin filaments adjacent to the apical membrane, overlying disorganized actin filaments. This suggested that myosin arrays might bundle actin at mature junctions. Consistent with this idea, inhibiting ROCK or myosin ATPase disrupted myosin localization/organization and prevented actin bundling and polarization. We obtained similar results in Caco-2 cells. These results suggest a novel role for myosin self-assembly, helping drive actin organization to facilitate cell shape change.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Immune cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, can utilize podosomes, mechanosensitive actin-rich protrusions, to generate forces, migrate, and patrol for foreign antigens. Individual podosomes probe their microenvironment through periodic protrusion and retraction cycles (height oscillations), while oscillations of multiple podosomes in a cluster are coordinated in a wave-like fashion. However, the mechanisms governing both the individual oscillations and the collective wave-like dynamics remain unclear. Here, by integrating actin polymerization, myosin contractility, actin diffusion, and mechanosensitive signaling, we develop a chemo-mechanical model for podosome dynamics in clusters. Our model reveals that podosomes show oscillatory growth when actin polymerization-driven protrusion and signaling-associated myosin contraction occur at similar rates, while the diffusion of actin monomers drives wave-like coordination of podosome oscillations. Our theoretical predictions are validated by different pharmacological treatments and the impact of microenvironment stiffness on chemo-mechanical waves. Our proposed framework can shed light on the role of podosomes in immune cell mechanosensing within the context of wound healing and cancer immunotherapy.

     
    more » « less
  5. Introduction— In response to external stress, cells alter their morphology, metabolic activity, and functions to mechanically adapt to the dynamic, local environment through cell allostasis. To explore mechanotransduction in cellular allostasis, we applied an integrated micromechanical system that combines an ‘ultrasound tweezers’-based mechanical stressor and a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based molecular force biosensor, termed “actinin-sstFRET,” to monitor in situ single-cell allostasis in response to transient stimulation in real time. Methods— The ultrasound tweezers utilize 1 Hz, 10-second transient ultrasound pulses to acoustically excite a lipid-encapsulated microbubble, which is bound to the cell membrane, and apply a pico- to nano-Newton range of forces to cells through an RGD-integrin linkage. The actinin-sstFRET molecular sensor, which engages the actin stress fibers in live cells, is used to map real-time actomyosin force dynamics over time. Then, the mechanosensitive behaviors were examined by profiling the dynamics in Ca2+ influx, actomyosin cytoskeleton (CSK) activity, and GTPase RhoA signaling to define a single-cell mechanical allostasis. Results—By subjecting a 1 Hz, 10-second physical stress, single vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) were observed to remodeled themselves in a biphasic mechanical allostatic manner within 30 minutes that caused them to adjust their contractility and actomyosin activities. The cellular machinery that underscores the vital role of CSK equilibrium in cellular mechanical allostasis, includes Ca2+ influx, remodeling of actomyosin CSK and contraction, and GTPase RhoA signaling. Mechanical allostasis was observed to be compromised in VSMCs from patients with type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM), which could potentiate an allostatic maladaptation. Conclusions— By integrating tools that simultaneously permit localized mechanical perturbation and map actomyosin forces, we revealed distinct cellular mechanical allostasis profiles in our micromechanical system. Our findings of cell mechanical allostasis and maladaptation provide the potential for mechanophenotyping cells to reveal their pathogenic contexts and their biophysical mediators that underlie multi-etiological diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, or aging. 
    more » « less