In this review, we discuss the role of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), an intracellular tyrosine kinase, in endothelial cells in relation to neovascularization. Genetic and in vitro studies have identified critical factors, receptor systems, and their intracellular signaling components that regulate the neovasculogenic phenotypes of endothelial cells. Among these factors, FAK appears to regulate several aspects of endothelial cellular behavior, including migration, survival, cytoskeletal organization, as well as cell proliferation. Upon adhesion of endothelial cells to extracellular matrix (ECM) ligands, integrins cluster on the plane of plasma-membrane, while cytoplasmic domains of integrins interact with cytoskeletal proteins and signaling molecules including FAK. However, FAK not only serves as a critical component of integrin signaling, but is also a downstream element of the VEGF/VEGF-receptor and other ligand-receptor systems that regulate neovascularization. A complete understanding of FAK-mediated neovascularization, therefore, should address the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the biology of FAK. Continued research on FAK may, therefore, yield novel therapies to improve treatment modalities for the pathological neovascularization associated with diseases.
In bone, NO plays a vital role in mechanosensation and mechanotransduction. Osteocytes are widely accepted as the 'professional' mechanosensors in bone. They sense external mechanical loads on bone and produce ...
Osteocyte viability is a critical determinant of bone strength and is promoted by both mechanical stimulation and activation of the Wnt signaling pathway. Earlier studies demonstrated that both stimuli promote survival of osteocytes by activating the extracellular signal regulated kinases (ERKs). Here, we show that there is interaction between the caveolin-1/ERK and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways in the transduction of mechanical cues into osteocyte survival. Thus, ERK nuclear translocation and anti-apoptosis induced by mechanical stimulation is abolished by the Wnt antagonist DKK1 and the stimulator of β-catenin degradation Axin2. Conversely, glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) phosphorylation and β-catenin accumulation induced by mechanical stimulation are abolished by either pharmacologic inhibition of ERKs or silencing caveolin-1. In contrast, the inhibitor of canonical Wnt signaling dominant negative T cell factor (TCF) does not alter ERK nuclear translocation or survival induced by mechanical stimulation. These findings demonstrate that β-catenin accumulation is an essential component of the mechanotransduction machinery in osteocytes, albeit β-catenin/TCF-mediated transcription is not required. The simultaneous requirement of β-catenin for ERK activation and of ERK activation for β-catenin accumulation suggests a bidirectional crosstalk between the caveolin-1/ERKs and the Wnt/β-catenin pathways in mechanotransduction leading to osteocyte survival.
Adhesions between the cell and the extracellular matrix (ECM) are mechanosensitive multi-protein assemblies that transmit force across the cell membrane and regulate biochemical signals in response to the chemical and mechanical environment. These combined functions in force transduction, signaling and mechanosensing contribute to cellular phenotypes that span development, homeostasis and disease. These adhesions form, mature and disassemble in response to actin organization and physical forces that originate from endogenous myosin activity or external forces by the extracellular matrix. Despite advances in our understanding of the protein composition, interactions and regulation, our understanding of matrix adhesion structure and organization, how forces affect this organization, and how these changes dictate specific signaling events is limited. Insights across multiple structural levels are acutely needed to elucidate adhesion structure and ultimately the molecular basis of signaling and mechanotransduction. Here we describe the challenges and recent advances and prospects for unraveling the structure of cell-matrix adhesions and their response to force.
Introduction Mechanosensation is a fundamental process in biology and may have been developed by the early cells in response to hypo-osmotic stress . With the evolution of different cell types and the appearance of multi-cellular ...
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