Mutations in the lamin A/C gene (LMNA) cause a variety of human diseases including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. The tissue-specific effects of lamin mutations are unclear, in part because the function of lamin A/C is incompletely defined, but the many muscle-specific phenotypes suggest that defective lamin A/C could increase cellular mechanical sensitivity. To investigate the role of lamin A/C in mechanotransduction, we subjected lamin A/C–deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts to mechanical strain and measured nuclear mechanical properties and strain-induced signaling. We found that Lmna–/– cells have increased nuclear deformation, defective mechanotransduction, and impaired viability under mechanical strain. NF-κB–regulated transcription in response to mechanical or cytokine stimulation was attenuated in Lmna–/– cells despite increased transcription factor binding. Lamin A/C deficiency is thus associated with both defective nuclear mechanics and impaired mechanically activated gene transcription. These findings suggest that the tissue-specific effects of lamin A/C mutations observed in the laminopathies may arise from varying degrees of impaired nuclear mechanics and transcriptional activation.
Jan Lammerding, P. Christian Schulze, Tomosaburo Takahashi, Serguei Kozlov, Teresa Sullivan, Roger D. Kamm, Colin L. Stewart, Richard T. Lee