Cell Biology

Feeling the Stretch

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  21 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6114, pp. 1513
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6114.1513-c
CREDIT: S. BABU ET AL., SCIENCE SIGNALING 5, 254 (11 DECEMBER 2012)

Certain cells in the body, particularly those of the vasculature, need to respond appropriately when they are stretched. One way they do this is through the protein zyxin. In stretched cells, zyxin is released from focal adhesions (where cells are attached to their surroundings) and goes to the nucleus, where it functions as a transcription factor to regulate gene expression. Suresh Babu et al. reveal a cellular signaling mechanism by which mechanical stretching is coupled to zyxin release. Using genetically modified mice, they found that zyxin release in response to stretching requires TRPC3 (transient receptor potential channel 3) protein, an ion channel from a family in which some members are regulated by mechanical stimuli. They showed that the channel activation appeared to cause release of endothelin-1 from mammalian endothelial cells, which then acted through its receptor to cause release of atrial natriuretic peptide, whose receptor is a guanylyl cyclase. Production of cyclic GMP (adenosine 3′-5′ monophosphate) would then activate protein kinase G, which phopshorylates zyxin, an event that appears to be necessary for its release from the focal adhesions.

Sci. Signal. 5, ra91 (2012).

Navigate This Article