A molecular optomechanics approach reveals functional relevance of force transduction across talin and desmoplakin

Tanmay Sadhanasatish, Katharina Augustin, Lukas Windgasse, Anna Chrostek-Grashoff, Matthias Rief, Carsten Grashoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many mechanobiological processes that govern development and tissue homeostasis are regulated on the level of individual molecular linkages, and a number of proteins experiencing piconewton-scale forces in cells have been identified. However, under which conditions these force-bearing linkages become critical for a given mechanobiological process is often still unclear. Here, we established an approach to revealing the mechanical function of intracellular molecules using molecular optomechanics. When applied to the integrin activator talin, the technique provides direct evidence that its role as a mechanical linker is indispensable for the maintenance of cell-matrix adhesions and overall cell integrity. Applying the technique to desmoplakin shows that mechanical engagement of desmosomes to intermediate filaments is expendable under homeostatic conditions yet strictly required for preserving cell-cell adhesion under stress. These results reveal a central role of talin and desmoplakin as mechanical linkers in cell adhesion structures and demonstrate that molecular optomechanics is a powerful tool to investigate the molecular details of mechanobiological processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadg3347
JournalScience Advances
Volume9
Issue number25
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

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