Identification of specific gravity sensitive signal transduction pathways in human A431 carcinoma cells
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) activates a well characterized signal transduction cascade in human A431 epidermoid carcinoma cells. The influence of gravity on EGF-induced EGF-receptor clustering and early gene expression as well as on actin polymerization and actin organization have been investigated. Different signalling pathways induced by the agents TPA, forskolin and A23187 that activate gene expression were tested for sensitivity to gravity.EGF-induced c-fos and c-jun expression were decreased in microgravity. However, constitutive β-2 microglobulin expression remained unaltered. Under simulated weightlessness conditions EGF- and TPA-induced c-fos expression was decreased, while forskolin- and A23187-induced c-fos expression was independent of the gravity conditions. These results suggest that gravity affects specific signalling pathways. Preliminary results indicate that EGF-induced EGF-receptor clustering remained unaltered irrespective of the gravity conditions. Furthermore, the relative filamentous actin content of steady state A431 cells was enhanced under microgravity conditions and actin filament organization was altered. Under simulated weightlessness actin filament organization in steady state cells as well as in EGF-treated cells was altered as compared to the 1 G reference experiment. Interestingly the microtubule and keratin organization in untreated cells showed no difference with the normal gravity samples. This indicates that gravity may affect specific components of the signal transduction circuitry.