Changes in plasma membrane curvature and intracellular ionic strength are two key features of cell volume perturbations. In this hypothesis we present a model of the responsible molecular apparatus which is assembled of two molecular motors [non-muscle myosin II (NMMII) and protrusive actin polymerization], a spring [a complex between the plasma membrane (PM) and the submembrane actin-based cytoskeleton (smACSK) which behaves like a viscoelastic solid] and the associated signaling proteins. We hypothesize that this apparatus senses changes in both the plasma membrane curvature and the ionic strength and in turn activates signaling pathways responsible for regulatory volume increase (RVI) and regulatory volume decrease (RVD). During cell volume changes hydrostatic pressure (HP) changes drive alterations in the cell membrane curvature. HP difference has opposite directions in swelling versus shrinkage, thus allowing distinction between them. By analogy with actomyosin contractility that appears to sense stiffness of the extracellular matrix we propose that NMMII and actin polymerization can actively probe the transmembrane gradient in HP. Furthermore, NMMII and protein-protein interactions in the actin cortex are sensitive to ionic strength. Emerging data on direct binding to and regulating activities of transmembrane mechanosensors by NMMII and actin cortex provide routes for signal transduction from transmembrane mechanosensors to cell volume regulatory mechanisms.
Two motors and one spring: Hypothetic roles of non-muscle myosin ii and submembrane actin-based cytoskeleton in cell volume sensing / Barvitenko, N.; Aslam, M.; Lawen, A.; Saldanha, C.; Skverchinskaya, E.; Uras, G.; Manca, A.; Pantaleo, A.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1661-6596. - 22:15(2021), p. 7967. [10.3390/ijms22157967]