Cytoskeletal tension regulates both expression and degradation of h2-calponin in lung alveolar cells

M. Moazzem Hossain, Paul G. Smith, Kaichun Wu, Jian Ping Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Calponin is an actin filament-associated regulatory protein, and its h2 isoform is expressed in lung alveolar epithelial cells under postnatal upregulation during lung development corresponding to the commencement of respiratory expansion. Consistent with this correlation to mechanical tension, the expression of h2-calponin in alveolar cells is dependent on substrate stiffness and cytoskeleton tension. The function of h2-calponin in the stability of actin cytoskeleton implicates a role in balancing the strength and compliance of alveoli. An interesting finding is a rapid degradation of h2-calponin in lung after prolonged deflation, which is prevented by inflation of the lung to the in situ expanded volume. Decreasing mechanical tension in cultured alveolar cells by reducing the dimension of culture matrix reproduced the degradation of h2-calponin. Inhibition of myosin II ATPase also resulted in the degradation of h2-calponin in alveolar cells, showing a determining role of the tension in the actin cytoskeleton. Alveolar cells statically cultured on silicon rubber membrane build high tension in the cytoskeleton corresponding to a high expression of h2-calponin. Chronic cyclic stretching of cells on the membrane did not increase but decreased the expression of h2-calponin. This finding suggests that when cellular structure adapts to the stretched dimension, cyclic relaxations periodically release cytoskeleton tension and lower the total amount of tension that the cell senses over time. Therefore, the isometric tension, other than tension dynamics, determines the expression of h2-calponin. The tension regulation of h2-calponin synthesis and degradation demonstrates a novel mechanical regulation of cellular biochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15670-15683
Number of pages14
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 26 2006


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