Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

Nanoscale integrin cluster dynamics controls cellular mechanosensing via FAKY397 phosphorylation

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Science Advances  04 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 10, eaax1909
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax1909


Transduction of extracellular matrix mechanics affects cell migration, proliferation, and differentiation. While this mechanotransduction is known to depend on the regulation of focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation on Y397 (FAKpY397), the mechanism remains elusive. To address this, we developed a mathematical model to test the hypothesis that FAKpY397-based mechanosensing arises from the dynamics of nanoscale integrin clustering, stiffness-dependent disassembly of integrin clusters, and FAKY397 phosphorylation within integrin clusters. Modeling results predicted that integrin clustering dynamics governs how cells convert substrate stiffness to FAKpY397, and hence governs how different cell types transduce mechanical signals. Existing experiments on MDCK cells and HT1080 cells, as well as our new experiments on 3T3 fibroblasts, confirmed our predictions and supported our model. Our results suggest a new pathway by which integrin clusters enable cells to calibrate responses to their mechanical microenvironment.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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