Project 1: Myosin activity facilitates Vinculin recruitment to focal adhesions through modulation of paxillin phosphorylation Personell: Ana-Maria Pasapera-Limon Focal adhesions (FA) are mechanosensitive adhesion and signaling complexes that grow and change composition in response to myosin II-mediated cytoskeletal tension, in a process known as FA maturation. To understand tension-mediated FA maturation, we sought to identify proteins that are recruited to FAs in a myosin II-dependent manner, and to examine the mechanism for their myosin II-sensitive FA association. We find that FA recruitment of both the cytoskeletal adapter protein, vinculin, and the tyrosine kinase, FAK, are myosin II- and ECM-stiffness dependent. Myosin II activity promotes vinculins association with paxillin and FAK/Src-mediated phosphorylation of paxillin on tyrosines 31 and 118. We show that phospho-mimic mutations of paxillin can specifically induce the recruitment of vinculin to adhesions, independent of myosin II activity. These results reveal an important role for paxillin in adhesion mechanosensing via myosin II-mediated FAK phosphorylation of paxillin that promotes vinculin FA recruitment to reinforce the cytoskeletal ECM-linkage and drive FA maturation. This work was published in the JCB Project 2: PROTEOMIC ANALYSIS OF FOCAL ADHESION MATURATION Proteomic Analysis of Myosin II-mediated Focal Adhesion Maturation Reveals a Role for -Pix in Relaxation-mediated Rac1 Activation J. Kuo, X. Han, C.T Hsiao, J. Yates, C. M. Waterman Focal adhesions (FAs) undergo contraction-mediated maturation wherein they grow and change composition to differentially transduce signals from the extracellular matrix to modulate cell migration, growth and differentiation. To determine how FA protein composition is globally modulated by myosinII contraction, we developed a proteomics approach to isolate native FAs, identify their protein composition, and compare specific protein abundance in FAs from cells with and without myosinII inhibition. We reproducibly identified 905 FA-associated proteins, half (402) of which changed in FA abundance in response to perturbation of myosinII activity, thus defining the myosinII-responsive FA proteome. FA abundance of 75% of proteins in the myosinII-responsive FA proteome were enhanced by contractility, including those involved in Rho-mediated FA maturation, stress fiber formation, and endocytosis- and calpain-dependent FA disassembly. Surprisingly, 25% of the myosinII responsive FA proteome, including proteins involved in Rac-mediated lamellipodial protrusion, were enriched in FA by myosinII inhibition, establishing for the first time negative regulation of FA protein recruitment by contractility. We focused on the role of the Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor, -PIX, documenting its depletion from FA during myosin-mediated FA maturation and its role in negative regulation of FA maturation to promote rapid FA turnover, lamellipodial protrusion and fast cell migration. This work was performed in collaboration with John Yates and Xuemei Han (Scripps) and C.T. Hsiao (U MD). Two manuscripts have been prepared. A methods paper has been accepted for publication (8. Kuo, J.C., X. Han, J. R. Yates III and C.M. Waterman. (2011) Isolation of focal adhesion proteins for biochemical and proteomic analysis. In: Integrin and Cell Adhesion Molecules: Methods and Protocols Methods in Molecular Biology, Humana Press (Motomu Shimaoka, Editor). In press). A research paper is currently being revised for resubmission to Nature Cell Biology. Project 3: Analysis of traction stress variation across single focal adhesions. Sergey V. Plotnikov, Benedikt Sabass, Ulrich S. Schwarz, Clare M. Waterman The ability of eukaryotic cells to sense mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and to exhibit durotaxis (directed migration toward stiffer environments) is thought to underly many biological processes including angiogenesis, neurogenesis and cancer metastasis. ECM stiffness sensing is achieved by integrin-mediated focal adhesions (FA), protein assemblies that couple contractile actomyosin bundles to the plasma membrane and transmit force generated by the cytoskeleton to the ECM. Although it has been shown that both structural and signaling components of FA are crucial to translate mechanical cues into cell behavior, the molecular mechanism of mechanosensing remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that a molecular clutch, a mechanical link between the actin cytoskeleton and ECM-engaged integrins, acts as a mechanosensor in FAs, and the strength of the clutch determines range of ECM stiffness cells are able to sense to mediate durotaxis. Using high-resolution traction force microscopy on polyacrylamide ECMs of varying stiffnesses, we found that the mechanical behavior of the integrin-actin interface at FA exhibited ECM stiffness-dependent switching between a load-and-fail compliance sensing regime and a frictional slippage regime as described in the clutch oscillation model (Chan and Odde, 2008). In the load and fail regime, the position of peak traction within the FA resided on average at the distal FA tip, but oscillated over time towards the FA center and back to the tip. As ECM rigidity was increased, the traction peak did not oscillate and remained in the FA center, signifying the frictional slippage regime. We found that perturbing the gradient of paxillin phosphorylation across FA by expressing Y31/118E- or Y31/118F-paxillin mutants or by inhibiting FAK weakened the molecular clutch and switched FAs from load-and-fail compliance sensing to frictional slippage regime on compliant ECMs. In agreement with the clutch oscillation model, the load-and-fail regime could be rescued by further decreasing either substrate stiffness or myosin II contractility. Since paxillin phosphorylation on tyrosine residues 31 and 118 mediates vinculin recruitment into FAs, we demonstrated that vinculin and the paxillin-vinculin interaction are essential to strengthen the molecular clutch and to enable mechanosensing over a wide range of ECM compliances. We demonstrated the physiological importance of the load-and-fail compliance sensing regime by showing a requirement for this FA behavior in durotaxis, but not in chemotaxis in a boyden chamber assay or in random cell migration. This work was performed in colabboration with Benedikt Sabass and Ulrich Schwartz (university of Heidelberg) at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods HOle MA. It was presaented at the American Society for Cell Biology, Gordon conference on Signalling from Adhesion Receptors, and Frontiers in Cell Migration. A manuscript is currently being prepared for submission.

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Swaminathan, Vinay; Waterman, Clare M (2016) The molecular clutch model for mechanotransduction evolves. Nat Cell Biol 18:459-61
Das, Arupratan; Fischer, Robert S; Pan, Duojia et al. (2016) YAP Nuclear Localization in the Absence of Cell-Cell Contact Is Mediated by a Filamentous Actin-dependent, Myosin II- and Phospho-YAP-independent Pathway during Extracellular Matrix Mechanosensing. J Biol Chem 291:6096-110
Cartagena-Rivera, Alexander X; Logue, Jeremy S; Waterman, Clare M et al. (2016) Actomyosin Cortical Mechanical Properties in Nonadherent Cells Determined by Atomic Force Microscopy. Biophys J 110:2528-39
Case, Lindsay B; Baird, Michelle A; Shtengel, Gleb et al. (2015) Molecular mechanism of vinculin activation and nanoscale spatial organization in focal adhesions. Nat Cell Biol 17:880-92
Manoussaki, Daphne; Shin, William D; Waterman, Clare M et al. (2015) Cytosolic pressure provides a propulsive force comparable to actin polymerization during lamellipod protrusion. Sci Rep 5:12314
Logue, Jeremy S; Cartagena-Rivera, Alexander X; Baird, Michelle A et al. (2015) Erk regulation of actin capping and bundling by Eps8 promotes cortex tension and leader bleb-based migration. Elife 4:
Pasapera, Ana M; Plotnikov, Sergey V; Fischer, Robert S et al. (2015) Rac1-dependent phosphorylation and focal adhesion recruitment of myosin IIA regulates migration and mechanosensing. Curr Biol 25:175-86
Thievessen, Ingo; Fakhri, Nikta; Steinwachs, Julian et al. (2015) Vinculin is required for cell polarization, migration, and extracellular matrix remodeling in 3D collagen. FASEB J :
Case, Lindsay B; Waterman, Clare M (2015) Integration of actin dynamics and cell adhesion by a three-dimensional, mechanosensitive molecular clutch. Nat Cell Biol 17:955-63
Plotnikov, Sergey V; Sabass, Benedikt; Schwarz, Ulrich S et al. (2014) High-resolution traction force microscopy. Methods Cell Biol 123:367-94

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