Cell spreading and migration play central roles in many physiological and pathophysiological processes. We have previously shown that MFN2 regulates the migration of human neutrophil-like cells via suppressing Rac activation. Here, we show that in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, MFN2 suppresses RhoA activation and supports cell polarization. After initial spreading, the wild-type cells polarize and migrate, whereas the Mfn2-/- cells maintain a circular shape. Increased cytosolic Ca2+ resulting from the loss of Mfn2 is directly responsible for this phenotype, which can be rescued by expressing an artificial tether to bring mitochondria and ER to close vicinity. Elevated cytosolic Ca2+ activates Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, RhoA, and Myosin light-chain kinase, causing an over-activation of non-muscle Myosin II, leading to a formation of a prominent F-actin ring at the cell periphery and increased cell contractility. The peripheral actin band alters cell physics and is dependent on substrate rigidity. Our results provide a novel molecular basis to understand how MFN2 regulates distinct signaling pathways in different cells and tissue environments, which is instrumental in understanding and treating MFN2-related diseases.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file; Source Data files have been provided for Figures 1-5, 7 and Figure 5-figure Supplement 1.
- Qing Deng
- Qing Deng
- Deva Chan
- David Umulis
- Fang Huang
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Jonathan A Cooper, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States
© 2023, Wang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Nitric oxide (NO), as a gaseous therapeutic agent, shows great potential for the treatment of many kinds of diseases. Although various NO delivery systems have emerged, the immunogenicity and long-term toxicity of artificial carriers hinder the potential clinical translation of these gas therapeutics. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), with the capacities of self-renewal, differentiation, and low immunogenicity, have been used as living carriers. However, MSCs as gaseous signaling molecule (GSM) carriers have not been reported. In this study, human MSCs were genetically modified to produce mutant β-galactosidase (β-GALH363A). Furthermore, a new NO prodrug, 6-methyl-galactose-benzyl-oxy NONOate (MGP), was designed. MGP can enter cells and selectively trigger NO release from genetically engineered MSCs (eMSCs) in the presence of β-GALH363A. Moreover, our results revealed that eMSCs can release NO when MGP is systemically administered in a mouse model of acute kidney injury (AKI), which can achieve NO release in a precise spatiotemporal manner and augment the therapeutic efficiency of MSCs. This eMSC and NO prodrug system provides a unique and tunable platform for GSM delivery and holds promise for regenerative therapy by enhancing the therapeutic efficiency of stem cells.
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