Force-history dependence and cyclic mechanical reinforcement of actin filaments at the single molecular level.

Author: Hyunjung Lee, Suzanne G. Eskin, Shoichiro Ono, Cheng Zhu, Larry V. McIntire

Date: 2/4/2019

Journal:Journal of Cell Science


DOI: 10.1242/jcs.216911



The actin cytoskeleton is subjected to dynamic mechanical forces over time and the history of force loading may serve as mechanical preconditioning. While the actin cytoskeleton is known to be mechanosensitive, the mechanisms underlying force regulation of actin dynamics still need to be elucidated. Here, we investigated actin depolymerization under a range of dynamic tensile forces using atomic force microscopy. Mechanical loading by cyclic tensile forces induced significantly enhanced bond lifetimes and different force-loading histories resulted in different dissociation kinetics in G-actin-G-actin and G-actin-F-actin interactions. Actin subunits at the two ends of filaments formed bonds with distinct kinetics under dynamic force, with cyclic mechanical reinforcement more effective at the pointed end compared to that at the barbed end. Our data demonstrate force-history dependent reinforcement in actin-actin bonds and polarity of the actin depolymerization kinetics under cyclic tensile forces. These properties of actin may be important clues to understanding regulatory mechanisms underlying actin-dependent mechanotransduction and mechanosensitive cytoskeletal dynamics.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.