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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5749749, 16 pages
Research Article

Dynamics of Actin Stress Fibers and Focal Adhesions during Slow Migration in Swiss 3T3 Fibroblasts: Intracellular Mechanism of Cell Turning

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Chiba University, 1-33 Yayoi-cho, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8522, Japan
2Pathophysiological and Health Science Team, RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, 6-7-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan
3Health Metrics Development Team, RIKEN Compass to Healthy Life Research Complex Program, 6-7-1 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan
4Department of Mechanical and Control Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan

Received 9 September 2016; Revised 23 November 2016; Accepted 6 December 2016

Academic Editor: Hiroaki Hirata

Copyright © 2016 Michiko Sugawara 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.


To understand the mechanism regulating the spontaneous change in polarity that leads to cell turning, we quantitatively analyzed the dynamics of focal adhesions (FAs) coupling with the self-assembling actin cytoskeletal structure in Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts. Fluorescent images were acquired from cells expressing GFP-actin and RFP-zyxin by laser confocal microscopy. On the basis of the maximum area, duration, and relocation distance of FAs extracted from the RFP-zyxin images, the cells could be divided into 3 regions: the front region, intermediate lateral region, and rear region. In the intermediate lateral region, FAs appeared close to the leading edge and were stabilized gradually as its area increased. Simultaneously, bundled actin stress fibers (SFs) were observed vertically from the positions of these FAs, and they connected to the other SFs parallel to the leading edge. Finally, these connecting SFs fused to form a single SF with matured FAs at both ends. This change in SF organization with cell retraction in the first cycle of migration followed by a newly formed protrusion in the next cycle is assumed to lead to cell turning in migrating Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts.