Global cytoskeletal control of mechanotransduction in kidney epithelial cells

Exp Cell Res. 2004 Nov 15;301(1):23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2004.08.003.


Studies of mechanotransduction mediated by stress-sensitive ion channels generally focus on the site of force application to the cell. Here we show that global, cell-wide changes in cytoskeletal structure and mechanics can regulate mechanotransduction previously shown to be triggered by activation of the mechanosensitive calcium channel, polycystin-2, in the apical primary cilium of renal epithelial cells [S.M. Nauli, F.J. Alenghat, Y. Luo, E. Williams, P. Vassilev, X. Li, A.E. Elia, W. Lu, E.M. Brown, S.J. Quinn, D.E. Ingber, J. Zhou, Polycystins 1 and 2 mediate mechanosensation in the primary cilium of kidney cells. Nat. Genet. 33 (2003) 129-37]. Disrupting cytoplasmic microfilaments or microtubules in these cells eliminated fluid shear stress-induced increase of intracellular calcium. Altering the cytoskeletal force balance by inhibiting actomyosin-based tension generation (using 2,3-butanedione monoxime), interfering with microtubule polymerization (using nocodazole, cochicine, or taxol), or disrupting basal integrin-dependent extracellular matrix adhesions (using soluble GRGDSP peptide or anti-beta1 integrin antibody), also inhibited the calcium spike in response to fluid stress. These data indicate that although fluid stress-induced displacement of the primary cilium may be transduced into a calcium spike through activation of polycystin-2 and associated calcium-induced calcium release from intracellular stores, this mechanotransduction response is governed by global mechanical cues, including isometric tension (prestress) within the entire cytoskeleton and intact adhesions to extracellular matrix.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actins / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cilia / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Nocodazole / pharmacology
  • TRPP Cation Channels


  • Actins
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • TRPP Cation Channels
  • polycystic kidney disease 2 protein
  • Nocodazole
  • Calcium