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J. Cell Biol. 171 (2): 209-215

Copyright © 2005 by the Rockefeller University Press.


Mechanical force mobilizes zyxin from focal adhesions to actin filaments and regulates cytoskeletal reinforcement

Masaaki Yoshigi3,4,5, Laura M. Hoffman1,5, Christopher C. Jensen5, H. Joseph Yost2,3,5, , and Mary C. Beckerle1,2,5

1 Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
2 Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
3 Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
4 Department of Bioengineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
5 Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Correspondence to Mary C. Beckerle: mary.beckerle{at}; or Masaaki Yoshigi: masaaki.yoshigi{at}

Abstract Back to Top

Abstract: Organs and tissues adapt to acute or chronic mechanical stress by remodeling their actin cytoskeletons. Cells that are stimulated by cyclic stretch or shear stress in vitro undergo bimodal cytoskeletal responses that include rapid reinforcement and gradual reorientation of actin stress fibers; however, the mechanism by which cells respond to mechanical cues has been obscure. We report that the application of either unidirectional cyclic stretch or shear stress to cells results in robust mobilization of zyxin from focal adhesions to actin filaments, whereas many other focal adhesion proteins and zyxin family members remain at focal adhesions. Mechanical stress also induces the rapid zyxin-dependent mobilization of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein from focal adhesions to actin filaments. Thickening of actin stress fibers reflects a cellular adaptation to mechanical stress; this cytoskeletal reinforcement coincides with zyxin mobilization and is abrogated in zyxin-null cells. Our findings identify zyxin as a mechanosensitive protein and provide mechanistic insight into how cells respond to mechanical cues.

M. Yoshigi and L.M. Hoffman contributed equally to this work.

Abbreviations used in this paper: SFTI, stress fiber thickness index; VASP, vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein.

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