Temporary increase in plasma membrane tension coordinates the activation of exocytosis and contraction during cell spreading

Nils C. Gauthier, Marc Antoine Fardin, Pere Roca-Cusachs, Michael P. Sheetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

177 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cell migration and spreading involve the coordination of membrane trafficking, actomyosin contraction, and modifications to plasma membrane tension and area. The biochemical or biophysical basis for this coordination is however unknown. In this study, we show that during cell spreading, lamellipodia protrusion flattens plasma membrane folds and blebs and, once the plasma membrane area is depleted, there is a temporary increase in membrane tension by over twofold that is followed by activation of exocytosis and myosin contraction. Further, an artificial increase in plasma membrane tension stopped lamellipodia protrusion and activated an exocytotic burst. Subsequent decrease in tension restored spreading with activation of contraction. Conversely, blebbistatin inhibition of actomyosin contraction resulted in an even greater increase in plasma membrane tension and exocytosis activation. This spatiotemporal synchronization indicates that membrane tension is the signal that coordinates membrane trafficking, actomyosin contraction, and plasma membrane area change. We suggest that cells use plasma membrane tension as a global physical parameter to control cell motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14467-14472
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume108
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 30 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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