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SCWISh network is essential for survival under mechanical pressure.

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Cells that proliferate within a confined environment build up mechanical compressive stress. For example, mechanical pressure emerges in the naturally space-limited tumor environment. However, little is known about how cells sense and respond to mechanical compression. We developed microfluidic bioreactors to enable the investigation of the effects of compressive stress on the growth of the genetically tractable model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae We used this system to determine that compressive stress is partly sensed through a module consisting of the mucin Msb2 and the cell wall protein Sho1, which act together as a sensor module in one of the two major osmosensing pathways in budding yeast. This signal is transmitted via the MAPKKK kinase Ste11. Thus, we term this mechanosensitive pathway the "SMuSh" pathway, for Ste11 through Mucin/Sho1 pathway. The SMuSh pathway delays cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and improves cell survival in response to growth-induced pressure. We also found that the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway contributes to the response to mechanical compressive stress. These latter results are confirmed in complimentary experiments in Mishra et al. [Mishra R, et al. (2017) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 10.1073/pnas.1709079114]. When both the SMuSh and the CWI pathways are deleted, cells fail to adapt to compressive stress, and all cells lyse at relatively low pressure when grown in confinement. Thus, we define a network that is essential for cell survival during growth under pressure. We term this mechanosensory system the SCWISh (survival through the CWI and SMuSh) network.

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