Mechanosensitive subcellular rheostasis drives emergent single-cell mechanical homeostasis

Shinuo Weng, Yue Shao, Weiqiang Chen, Jianping Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mechanical homeostasis—a fundamental process by which cells maintain stable states under environmental perturbations—is regulated by two subcellular mechanotransducers: cytoskeleton tension and integrin-mediated focal adhesions (FAs). Here, we show that single-cell mechanical homeostasis is collectively driven by the distinct, graduated dynamics (rheostasis) of subcellular cytoskeleton tension and FAs. Such rheostasis involves a mechanosensitive pattern wherein ground states of cytoskeleton tension and FA determine their distinct reactive paths through either relaxation or reinforcement. Pharmacological perturbations of the cytoskeleton and molecularly modulated integrin catch–slip bonds biased the rheostasis and induced non-homeostasis of FAs, but not of cytoskeleton tension, suggesting a unique sensitivity of FAs in regulating homeostasis. Theoretical modelling revealed myosin-mediated cytoskeleton contractility and catch–slip-bond-like behaviours in FAs and the cytoskeleton as sufficient and necessary mechanisms for quantitatively recapitulating mechanosensitive rheostasis. Our findings highlight the previously underappreciated physical nature of the mechanical homeostasis of cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Materials
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - May 30 2016

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homeostasis
adhesion
Adhesion
cells
Integrins
myosins
Myosins
reinforcement
Ground state
Reinforcement
perturbation
ground state
sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this

Mechanosensitive subcellular rheostasis drives emergent single-cell mechanical homeostasis. / Weng, Shinuo; Shao, Yue; Chen, Weiqiang; Fu, Jianping.

In: Nature Materials, 30.05.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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