Filamin and phospholipase C-ε are required for calcium signaling in theCaenorhabditis elegansSpermatheca

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Mechanical properties of the micro-environment are fundamental in orchestrating normal tissue function, disease progression, and organismal development. Studies of mechanotransduction in cultured cells on artificial substrates have revealed underlying principles, but the in vivo roles of mechanotransduction remain unclear. We recently reported that theCaenorhabditis elegansspermatheca—a myoepithelial tube composed of a cell monolayer—may be mechano-sensitive. Live imaging with the genetically encoded calcium indicator GCaMP revealed that oocyte-induced stretching of the spermatheca resulted in calcium oscillations and constriction of the tube. FLN-1/filamin, a mechanosensitive cyto-skeletal scaffolding protein, is required to correctly trigger the calcium transients. PLC-1/phospholipase C-epsilon and ITR-1/IP3 receptor are required to produce the calcium transients, and may function downstream of filamin. In addition to providing important insights into the biology ofC. elegans,our studies offer a novel and genetically tractable model for studying mechanotransduction in a myoepithelial tissue.

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