Focal adhesions are specialized cellular structures that organize the cytoskeleton through receptor complexes at sites of attachment to the substrate and, as such, are positioned to transmit signals in response to mechanical force. Yoshigi et al. show that zyxin and its binding partner VASP (vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein) redistributed from focal adhesions to the actin stress fibers in response to cyclic stretch (fibroblasts) or shear stress (endothelial cells). Stretch failed to promote redistribution of VASP or thickening of actin stress fibers in zyxin–/– cells. However, actin stress fibers did reorient in zyxin–/– cells, suggesting that zyxin and its binding partners are important for actin stress fiber reinforcement but not for cytoskeletal reorientation stimulated by mechanical stress.
M. Yoshigi, L. M. Hoffman, C. C. Jensen, H. J. Yost, M. C. Beckerle, Mechanical force mobilizes zyxin from focal adhesions to actin filaments and regulates cytoskeletal reinforcement. J. Cell Biol. 171, 209-215 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]