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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 747693, 17 pages
Review Article

RhoGTPases as Key Players in Mammalian Cell Adaptation to Microgravity

1INSERM U1059, Laboratoire de Biologie du Tissu Osseux, Université Jean Monnet, 42023 Saint-Etienne Cedex, France
2Laboratoire de Biologie des Tissus Conjonctifs, GIGA, Université de Liège, 4000 Sart Tilman, Belgium

Received 25 April 2014; Revised 14 August 2014; Accepted 9 September 2014

Academic Editor: Monica Monici

Copyright © 2015 Fiona Louis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A growing number of studies are revealing that cells reorganize their cytoskeleton when exposed to conditions of microgravity. Most, if not all, of the structural changes observed on flown cells can be explained by modulation of RhoGTPases, which are mechanosensitive switches responsible for cytoskeletal dynamics control. This review identifies general principles defining cell sensitivity to gravitational stresses. We discuss what is known about changes in cell shape, nucleus, and focal adhesions and try to establish the relationship with specific RhoGTPase activities. We conclude by considering the potential relevance of live imaging of RhoGTPase activity or cytoskeletal structures in order to enhance our understanding of cell adaptation to microgravity-related conditions.