Dissecting the roles of ROCK isoforms in stress-induced cell detachment

Jianjian Shi, Michelle Surma, Lumin Zhang, Lei Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Scopus citations


The homologous Rho kinases, ROCK1 and ROCK2, are involved in stress fiber assembly and cell adhesion and are assumed to be functionally redundant. Using mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from ROCK1-/- and ROCK2-/- mice, we have recently reported that they play different roles in regulating doxorubicin-induced stress fiber disassembly and cell detachment: ROCK1 is involved in destabilizing the actin cytoskeleton and cell detachment, whereas ROCK2 is required for stabilizing the actin cytoskeleton and cell adhesion. Here, we present additional insights into the roles of ROCK1 and ROCK2 in regulating stress-induced impairment of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion. In response to doxorubicin, ROCK1-/- MEFs showed significant preservation of both focal adhesions and adherens junctions, while ROCK2-/- MEFs exhibited impaired focal adhesions but preserved adherens junctions compared with the wild-type MEFs. Additionally, inhibition of focal adhesion or adherens junction formations by chemical inhibitors abolished the anti-detachment effects of ROCK1 deletion. Finally, ROCK1-/- MEFs, but not ROCK2-/- MEFs, also exhibited preserved central stress fibers and reduced cell detachment in response to serum starvation. These results add new insights into a novel mechanism underlying the anti-detachment effects of ROCK1 deletion mediated by reduced peripheral actomyosin contraction and increased actin stabilization to promote cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. Our studies further support the differential roles of ROCK isoforms in regulating stress-induced loss of central stress fibers and focal adhesions as well as cell detachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1500
Number of pages9
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2013


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion
  • Detachment
  • Doxorubicin
  • Isoform
  • Rho kinase
  • Serum starvation
  • Stress fibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Medicine(all)

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