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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Myosin II activity dependent and independent vinculin recruitment to the sites of E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion

Grant M Sumida, Tyler M Tomita, Wenting Shih and Soichiro Yamada*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis Davis, CA 95616 USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2011, 12:48  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-12-48

Published: 3 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Maintaining proper adhesion between neighboring cells depends on the ability of cells to mechanically respond to tension at cell-cell junctions through the actin cytoskeleton. Thus, identifying the molecules involved in responding to cell tension would provide insight into the maintenance, regulation, and breakdown of cell-cell junctions during various biological processes. Vinculin, an actin-binding protein that associates with the cadherin complex, is recruited to cell-cell contacts under increased tension in a myosin II-dependent manner. However, the precise role of vinculin at force-bearing cell-cell junctions and how myosin II activity alters the recruitment of vinculin at quiescent cell-cell contacts have not been demonstrated.

Results

We generated vinculin knockdown cells using shRNA specific to vinculin and MDCK epithelial cells. These vinculin-deficient MDCK cells form smaller cell clusters in a suspension than wild-type cells. In wound healing assays, GFP-vinculin accumulated at cell-cell junctions along the wound edge while vinculin-deficient cells displayed a slower wound closure rate compared to vinculin-expressing cells. In the presence of blebbistatin (myosin II inhibitor), vinculin localization at quiescent cell-cell contacts was unaffected while in the presence of jasplakinolide (F-actin stabilizer), vinculin recruitment increased in mature MDCK cell monolayers.

Conclusion

These results demonstrate that vinculin plays an active role at adherens junctions under increased tension at cell-cell contacts where vinculin recruitment occurs in a myosin II activity-dependent manner, whereas vinculin recruitment to the quiescent cell-cell junctions depends on F-actin stabilization.