Rapid induction and translocation of Egr-1 in response to mechanical strain in vascular smooth muscle cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • The effect of mechanical strain on transcription and expression of the immediate-early genes, early growth response gene-1 (Egr-1), c-jun, and c-fos, was investigated in neonatal rat aortic vascular smooth muscle (VSM) cells. Cells grown on silicone elastomer plates were subjected to cyclic mechanical strain (1 Hz) at various durations and magnitudes. Egr-1 mRNA increased rapidly in response to cyclic strain, reached a maximum of 10-fold after 30 minutes, and returned to baseline after 4 hours. c-jun exhibited a similar pattern, whereas c-fos mRNA expression was unaffected by strain. Cycloheximide prolonged the increase in Egr-1 and c-jun mRNA and caused superinduction of both. The threshold level of continuous cyclic strain needed to induce expression was 5% for Egr-1 and c-jun. Even a single cycle of mechanical strain that lasted 1 second was sufficient to induce Egr-1 and c-jun mRNA. Strain also increased expression of a transiently transfected Egr-1 promoter-reporter construct. The effect of varying extracellular matrices on strain-induced Egr-1 and c-jun mRNA was examined. In contrast to collagen type 1- and pronectin-coated plates, strain did not significantly alter expression of Egr-1 and c-jun was less induced on laminin-coated plates. On collagen type 1, strain increased Egr-1 protein levels by 2.1-fold at 60 minutes. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed translocation of Egr-1 to the nucleus in response to strain. These observations indicate that Egr-1 expression and translocation are sensitive to mechanical perturbation of the cell. c-jun is also induced by strain, but c-fos is not. The signal for this induction may involve specific cell-matrix interactions.

published proceedings

  • Circ Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Morawietz, H., Ma, Y. H., Vives, F., Wilson, E., Sukhatme, V. P., Holtz, J., & Ives, H. E.

citation count

  • 69

complete list of authors

  • Morawietz, H||Ma, YH||Vives, F||Wilson, E||Sukhatme, VP||Holtz, J||Ives, HE

publication date

  • April 1999