The endothelial cytoskeleton is a barrier for leukocyte transendothelial migration (TEM). Mononuclear and polymorphonuclear leukocytes generate gaps of similar micron-scale size when squeezing through inflamed endothelial barriers in vitro and in vivo. To elucidate how leukocytes squeeze through these barriers, we co-tracked the endothelial actin filaments and leukocyte nuclei in real time. Nuclear squeezing involved either preexistent or de novo-generated lobes inserted into the leukocyte lamellipodia. Leukocyte nuclei reversibly bent the endothelial actin stress fibers. Surprisingly, formation of both paracellular gaps and transcellular pores by squeezing leukocytes did not require Rho kinase or myosin II-mediated endothelial contractility. Electron-microscopic analysis suggested that nuclear squeezing displaced without condensing the endothelial actin filaments. Blocking endothelial actin turnover abolished leukocyte nuclear squeezing, whereas increasing actin filament density did not. We propose that leukocyte nuclei must disassemble the thin endothelial actin filaments interlaced between endothelial stress fibers in order to complete TEM.
- leukocyte trafficking
- shear flow
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)