Mechanobiology June 26th - June 2nd 2016

Mechanobiology: June 26th  - June 2nd 2016

The RhoA-dependent assembly of focal adhesions in Swiss 3T3 cells is associated with increased tyrosine phosphorylation and the recruitment of both pp125FAK and protein kinase C-delta to focal adhesions
S.T. Barry, D.R. Critchley


Mouse Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts cultured in serum-free medium lose their actin stress fibres and vinculin-containing focal adhesions, a process that can be reversed by the addition of serum, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) or bombesin, and is mediated by rhoA (A. J. Ridley and A. Hall (1992) Cell 70, 389–399). We have shown that the addition of serum to these cells induces the recruitment of the cytoskeletal proteins talin, vinculin and paxillin, and the protein kinases pp125FAK and PKC-delta, to newly formed focal adhesions, and that alpha-actinin is distributed along the actin stress fibres associated with these structures. The newly formed focal adhesions stained heavily with an antibody to phosphotyrosine. A similar response was elicited by 100 ng/ml LPA. The effect of serum was rapid, with focal staining for paxillin largely restricted to cell margins seen within 2 minutes of serum addition, and preceding the assembly of actin filaments. Phosphotyrosine staining differed in that it was predominantly punctate and was widely distributed throughout the cell. By 5 minutes, the paxillin and phosphotyrosine staining was concentrated at the ends of actin filaments largely at the cell margins. The structures stained ranged from circular to oval, but by 10 minutes they more closely resembled the elongated focal adhesions found in cultured fibroblasts. Within 10 minutes, the addition of serum or LPA induced a marked increase in the levels of pp125FAK and paxillin immune-precipitated by an anti-phosphotyrosine antibody. The results suggest that both pp125FAK and paxillin undergo changes in tyrosine phosphorylation upon activation of rhoA, and that these changes are associated with the assembly of focal adhesions and actin stress fibres. The observation that formation of focal adhesions can be induced by the tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor vanadyl hydroperoxide is consistent with the direct involvement of tyrosine phosphorylation in the assembly process. The localisation of PKC-delta to newly formed focal adhesions suggests that serine/threonine phosphorylation may also be important in this regard.