The response of individual cells to cellular stress is vital for cellular functioning. A large network of physically interconnected cellular components, starting from the structural components of the cells' nucleus, via cytoskeleton filaments to adhesion molecules and the extracellular matrix, constitutes an integrated matrix that functions as a scaffold allowing the cell to cope with mechanical stress. Next to a role in mechanical properties, this network also has a mechanotransductional function in the response to mechanical stress. This signaling route does not only regulate a rapid reorganization of structural components such as actin filaments, but also stimulates for example gene activation via NF¿B and other transcription factors. The importance of an intact mechano-signaling network is illustrated by the physiological consequences of several genetic defects of cellular network components e.g. actin, dystrophin, desmin and lamins. These give rise to an impaired response of the affected cells to mechanical stress and often result in dystrophy of the affected tissue. Recently, the importance of the cell nucleus in cellular strength has been established. Several new interconnecting proteins, such as the nesprins that link the nuclear lamina to the cytoskeleton, have been identified. Furthermore, the function of nuclear lamins in determining cellular strength and nuclear stability was illustrated in lamin-knock-out cells. Absence of the A-type lamins or mutations in these structural components of the nuclear lamina lead to an impaired cellular response to mechanical stress and disturbances in cytoskeletal organization. In addition, laminopathies show clinical phenotypes comparable to those seen for diseases resulting from genetic defects in cytoskeletal components, further indicating that lamins play a central role in maintaining the mechanical properties of the cell.
|Journal||Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, Molecular Cell Research|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|