Maki, Koichiro Kyoto University
Han, Sung-Woong Pohang University of Science and Technology
Hirano, Yoshinori Nara Institute of Science and Technology
Yonemura, Shigenobu Tokushima University Tokushima University Educator and Researcher Directory KAKEN Search Researchers
Hakoshima, Toshio Nara Institute of Science and Technology
Adachi, Taiji Kyoto University
Adherens junctions (AJs) adaptively change their intensities in response to intercellular tension; therefore, they integrate tension generated by individual cells to drive multicellular dynamics, such as morphogenetic change in embryos. Under intercellular tension, α-catenin, which is a component protein of AJs, acts as a mechano-chemical transducer to recruit vinculin to promote actin remodeling. Although in vivo and in vitro studies have suggested that α-catenin-mediated mechanotransduction is a dynamic molecular process, which involves a conformational change of α-catenin under tension to expose a cryptic vinculin binding site, there are no suitable experimental methods to directly explore the process. Therefore, in this study, we developed a novel system by combining atomic force microscopy (AFM) and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF). In this system, α-catenin molecules (residues 276–634; the mechano-sensitive M1-M3 domain), modified on coverslips, were stretched by AFM and their recruitment of Alexa-labeled full-length vinculin molecules, dissolved in solution, were observed simultaneously, in real time, using TIRF. We applied a physiologically possible range of tensions and extensions to α-catenin and directly observed its vinculin recruitment. Our new system could be used in the fields of mechanobiology and biophysics to explore functions of proteins under tension by coupling biomechanical and biochemical information.
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