“Out of Touch: Depletion of Mechanosensors Drives Wound-Healing and Cancer”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 | 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Additional dates:

Completed Event:February 11, 2020

Dr. Michael Sheetz
Welch Professor of Biochemistry
Molecular MechanoMedicine Program
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX

“Out of Touch: Depletion of Mechanosensors Drives Wound-Healing and Cancer”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
12:30 – 1:30 PM
BRC, 10th Floor, Room 1060 A/B

Abstract: Loss of matrix rigidity sensing in tumor cells enables transformed growth. In over forty tumor lines tested, they lack rigidity sensing complexes because components are altered (about 60% had low Tpm 2.1). The rigidity sensing complex (about 2 m in length) contracts matrix adhesions by ~100nm; and if the force generated is greater than ~25 pN, then cells can grow (Wolfenson et al., 2016. Nat Cell Bio. 18:33). However, if the surface is soft, then the cells apoptose by DAPK1 activation (Qin et al., 2018 BioRxiv. 320739). Although tumor cells grow on soft surfaces, restoration of rigidity sensing restores rigidity-dependent growth (Yang, B. et al., 2020 Nature Mat. 19: 239). Surprisingly, mechanical stretch of transformed cancer cells activates apoptosis through calpain-dependent apoptosis (Tijore et al., 2018 BioRxiv. 491746). Thus, stretch sensitivity is a weakness of cancer cells related to transformation and not to the tissue type or other factors.

Bio: Prof. Michael Sheetz has a long history in mechanobiological research and was most recently the Director of the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore. Prior to that he was a Professor at Columbia University where he headed a program in nanomedicine. At Duke University Medical School, he was Chair of Cell Biology from 1990 to 2000. He has received many awards including the Lasker Prize, Wiley and Massry Prizes.