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Creators/Authors contains: "Lammerding, Jan"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 31, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 15, 2025
  3. The nuclei of multinucleated skeletal muscles experience substantial external force during development and muscle contraction. Protection from such forces is partly provided by lamins, intermediate filaments that form a scaffold lining the inner nuclear membrane. Lamins play a myriad of roles, including maintenance of nuclear shape and stability, mediation of nuclear mechanoresponses, and nucleo-cytoskeletal coupling. Herein, we investigate how disease-causing mutant lamins alter myonuclear properties in response to mechanical force. This was accomplished via a novel application of a micropipette harpooning assay applied to larval body wall muscles of Drosophila models of lamin-associated muscular dystrophy. The assay enables the measurement of both nuclear deformability and intracellular force transmission between the cytoskeleton and nuclear interior in intact muscle fibers. Our studies revealed that specific mutant lamins increase nuclear deformability while other mutant lamins cause nucleo-cytoskeletal coupling defects, which were associated with loss of microtubular nuclear caging. We found that microtubule caging of the nucleus depended on Msp300, a KASH domain protein that is a component of the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex. Taken together, these findings identified residues in lamins required for connecting the nucleus to the cytoskeleton and suggest that not all muscle disease-causing mutant lamins produce similar defects in subcellular mechanics. 
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  4. Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) is one of the three main apical kinases at the crux of DNA damage response and repair in mammalian cells. ATM activates a cascade of downstream effector proteins to regulate DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoints in response to DNA double-strand breaks. While ATM is predominantly known for its role in DNA damage response and repair, new roles of ATM have recently begun to emerge, such as in regulating oxidative stress or metabolic pathways. Here, we report the surprising discovery that ATM inhibition and deletion lead to reduced expression of the nuclear envelope protein lamin A. Lamins are nuclear intermediate filaments that modulate nuclear shape, structure, and stiffness. Accordingly, inhibition or deletion of ATM resulted in increased nuclear deformability and enhanced cell migration through confined spaces, which requires substantial nuclear deformation. These findings point to a novel connection between ATM and lamin A and may have broad implications for cells with ATM mutations—as found in patients suffering from Ataxia Telangiectasia and many human cancers—which could lead to enhanced cell migration and increased metastatic potential. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Mammalian cells have evolved complex mechanical connections to their microenvironment, including focal adhesion clusters that physically connect the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix. This mechanical link is also part of the cellular machinery to transduce, sense and respond to external forces. Although methods to measure cell attachment and cellular traction forces are well established, these are not capable of quantifying force transmission through the cell body to adhesion sites. We here present a novel approach to quantify intracellular force transmission by combining microneedle shearing at the apical cell surface with traction force microscopy at the basal cell surface. The change of traction forces exerted by fibroblasts to underlying polyacrylamide substrates as a response to a known shear force exerted with a calibrated microneedle reveals that cells redistribute forces dynamically under external shearing and during sequential rupture of their adhesion sites. Our quantitative results demonstrate a transition from dipolar to monopolar traction patterns, an inhomogeneous distribution of the external shear force to the adhesion sites as well as dynamical changes in force loading prior to and after the rupture of single adhesion sites. Our strategy of combining traction force microscopy with external force application opens new perspectives for future studies of force transmission and mechanotransduction in cells. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
  7. Cellular behavior is continuously affected by microenvironmental forces through the process of mechanotransduction, in which mechanical stimuli are rapidly converted to biochemical responses. Mounting evidence suggests that the nucleus itself is a mechanoresponsive element, reacting to cytoskeletal forces and mediating downstream biochemical responses. The nucleus responds through a host of mechanisms, including partial unfolding, conformational changes, and phosphorylation of nuclear envelope proteins; modulation of nuclear import/export; and altered chromatin organization, resulting in transcriptional changes. It is unclear which of these events present direct mechanotransduction processes and which are downstream of other mechanotransduction pathways. We critically review and discuss the current evidence for nuclear mechanotransduction, particularly in the context of stem cell fate, a largely unexplored topic, and in disease, where an improved understanding of nuclear mechanotransduction is beginning to open new treatment avenues. Finally, we discuss innovative technological developments that will allow outstanding questions in the rapidly growing field of nuclear mechanotransduction to be answered. 
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