The low molecular weight GTP-binding protein RhoA regulates many cellular events, including cell
migration, organization of the cytoskeleton, cell adhesion, progress through the cell cycle and gene expression.
Physical forces influence these cellular processes in part by regulating RhoA activity through
mechanotransduction of cell adhesion molecules (e.g. integrins, cadherins, Ig superfamily molecules). RhoA
activity is regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase activating proteins (GAPs)
that are themselves regulated by many different signaling pathways. Significantly, the engagement of many
cell adhesion molecules can affect RhoA activity in both positive and negative ways. In this brief review, we
consider how RhoA activity is regulated downstream from cell adhesion molecules and mechanical force.
Finally, we highlight the importance of mechanotransduction signaling to RhoA in normal cell biology as well as
in certain pathological states.
Keywords: Actin, adhesion, cytoskeleton, GTPase, force, mechanotransduction, RhoA.
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