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Rapid translocation of pluripotency-related transcription factors by external uniaxial forces


Human embryonic stem cells subjected to a one-time uniaxial stretch for as short as 30-min on a flexible substrate coated with Matrigel experienced rapid and irreversible nuclear-to-cytoplasmic translocation of NANOG and OCT4, but not Sox2. Translocations were directed by intracellular transmission of biophysical signals from cell surface integrins to nuclear CRM1 and were independent of exogenous soluble factors. On E-CADHERIN-coated substrates, presumably with minimal integrin engagement, mechanical strain-induced rapid nuclear-to-cytoplasmic translocation of the three transcription factors. These findings might provide fundamental insights into early developmental processes and may facilitate mechanotransduction-mediated bioengineering approaches to influencing stem cell fate determination.

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