Extracellular matrix effect on RhoA signaling modulation in vascular smooth muscle cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Morphological adaptations of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) to the mechanically active environment in which they reside, are mediated by direct interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) which induces physiological changes at the intracellular level. This study aimed to analyze the effects of the ECM on RhoA-induced mechanical signaling that controls actin organization and focal adhesion formation. VSMC were transfected with RhoA constructs (wild type, dominant negative or constitutively active) and plated on different ECM proteins used as substrate (fibronectin, collagen IV, collagen I, and laminin) or poly-l-lysine as control. Morphological changes of the VSMC were detected by fluorescence confocal microscopy and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, and were independently verified using adhesion assays and Western blot analysis. Our results showed that the ECM has an important role in cell spreading, adhesion and morphology with a direct effect on modulating RhoA signaling. RhoA activity significantly affected the stress fibers and focal adhesions reorganization, but in a context imposed by the ECM. Thus, RhoA activity modulation in VSMC induced an increased activation of stress fibers and FA formation at 5h, while a significant inhibition was recorded at 24h after plating on the different ECM. Our findings provide biophysical evidence that ECM modulates VSMC response to mechanical stimuli inducing intracellular biochemical signaling involved in cellular adaptation to the local microenvironment.

published proceedings

  • Exp Cell Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Lim, S., Kreipe, B. A., Trzeciakowski, J., Dangott, L., & Trache, A.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Lim, Soon-Mi||Kreipe, Bryan A||Trzeciakowski, Jerome||Dangott, Larry||Trache, Andreea

publication date

  • October 2010