Focal adhesions are controlled by microtubules through local contractility regulation.
Abstract: Microtubules regulate cell polarity and migration by local activation of focal adhesion turnover, but the mechanism of this process is insufficiently understood. Molecular complexes containing KANK family proteins connect microtubules with the major component of focal adhesions, talin. Local optogenetic activation of KANK1-mediated links which promoted microtubule targeting to individual focal adhesion resulting in its centripetal sliding and rapid disassembly. The sliding is preceded by a local increase of traction force due to accumulation of myosin-II and actin in the proximity of the focal adhesion. Knockdown of Rho activator GEF-H1 prevented development of traction force and abolished sliding and disassembly of focal adhesion upon KANK activation. Other players participating in microtubule-driven KANK-dependent focal adhesion disassembly include kinases ROCK and PAK, as well as microtubules/focal adhesions associated proteins Kinesin-1, APC and αTAT. Finally, we propose a physical model of a microtubule-driven focal adhesion disruption involving local GEF-H1/RhoA/ROCK dependent activation of contractility which is consistent with experimental data.