The Role of Caveolae in the Loss of ERK2 Activation in Stretched Skeletal Myotubes
Bellott, Anne Claire
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Skeletal muscle function is important to the human body for daily activities. Mechanical signals are critical to the maintenance of that function. Muscle diseases, such as the muscular dystrophies, in which the force transmission apparatus is compromised, have devastating effects on muscle function and quality of life. Mechanical signals activate intracellular signaling to maintain function. ERK2 has been shown to be quickly and strongly upregulated following stretch, leading to cell proliferation. Stretch has been shown to cause deformation of caveolae, invaginations of the plasma membrane that inhibit ERK signaling. This leads to the hypothesis that stretch induced deformation of caveolae may initiate mechanotransduction by activating ERK2. Reducing caveolin-3 expression via siRNA knockdown eradicated the stretch-induced effect on ERK2 activation, indicating that caveolin is required for the stretch response. Stabilizing caveolae structure by temperature reduction or destabilizing caveolae by cholesterol depletion resulted in changes consistent with the hypothesis that proper caveolae structure plays an important role in inhibition of signaling molecules and that deformation mediates mechanotransduction, resulting in changes in activation of ERK2.