Ca2+-sensing receptor induces Rho kinase-mediated actin stress fiber assembly and altered cell morphology, but not in response to aromatic amino acids

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2006 Jun;290(6):C1543-51. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00482.2005. Epub 2006 Jan 11.


The Ca2+-sensing receptor (CaR) is a pleiotropic, type III G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that associates functionally with the cytoskeletal protein filamin. To investigate the effect of CaR signaling on the cytoskeleton, human embryonic kidney (HEK)-293 cells stably transfected with CaR (CaR-HEK) were incubated with CaR agonists in serum-free medium for up to 3 h. Addition of the calcimimetic NPS R-467 or exposure to high extracellular Ca2+ or Mg2+ levels elicited actin stress fiber assembly and process retraction in otherwise stellate cells. These responses were ablated by cotreatment with the calcilytic NPS 89636 and were absent in vector-transfected HEK-293 cells. Cotreatment with the Rho kinase inhibitors Y-27632 and H1152 attenuated the CaR-induced morphological change but not intracellular Ca2+ (Ca2+(i)) mobilization or ERK activation, although transfection with a dominant-negative RhoA-binding protein also inhibited calcimimetic-induced actin stress fiber assembly. CaR effects on morphology were unaffected by inhibition of G(q/11) or G(i/o) signaling, epidermal growth factor receptor, or the metalloproteinases. In contrast, CaR-induced cytoskeletal changes were not induced by the aromatic amino acids, treatments that also failed to potentiate CaR-induced ERK activation despite inducing Ca2+(i) mobilization. Together, these data establish that CaR can elicit Rho-mediated changes in stress fiber assembly and cell morphology, which could contribute to the receptor's physiological actions. In addition, this study provides further evidence that aromatic amino acids elicit differential signaling from other CaR agonists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / drug effects
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids, Aromatic / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / drug effects
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / metabolism*
  • Stress Fibers / drug effects
  • Stress Fibers / metabolism*
  • Transfection
  • rho-Associated Kinases


  • Actins
  • Amino Acids, Aromatic
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • rho-Associated Kinases
  • Calcium