Airway Dynamics and the Role of Zyxin

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Airway Dynamics and the Role of Zyxin

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Title: Airway Dynamics and the Role of Zyxin
Author: Rosner, Sonia Rebecca
Citation: Rosner, Sonia Rebecca. 2014. Airway Dynamics and the Role of Zyxin. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Morbidity and mortality attributable to asthma arise mainly from contraction of airway smooth muscle (ASM) and resulting bronchospasm. Bronchospasm that is induced in the laboratory is easily reversed by a spontaneous deep inspiration (DI) whereas bronchospasm that occurs spontaneously in asthma is not. In response to a spontaneous DI, contracted ASM fluidizes rapidly and then resolidifies slowly, but molecular mechanisms accounting for these salutary bronchodilatory responses -and their dramatic breakdown in asthma- are unknown. Using a multi-scale approach, I show here that both the baseline contractile force and the fluidization response of ASM are independent of the cytoskeletal protein zyxin, whereas the resolidification response is zyxin-dependent. At the levels of the stress fiber, the isolated cell, and the integrated airway, zyxin acts to stabilize the contractile apparatus and promote the resolidification response. More than just the motor of contraction, ASM is thus viewed in the broader context of a self-healing active material wherein resolidification and its molecular determinants contribute to the biology of bronchospasm.
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