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We provide an overview of our studies on cadmium and the actin cytoskeleton in mesangial cells, from earlier work on the effects of Cd(2+) on actin polymerization in vivo and in vitro, to a role of disruption or stabilization of the cytoskeleton in apoptosis and apoptosis-like death. More recent studies implicate cadmium-dependent association of gelsolin and the Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMK-II) with actin filaments in cytoskeletal effects. We also present previously unpublished data concerning cadmium and the disruption of focal adhesions. The work encompasses studies on rat, mouse, and human mesangial cells. The major conclusions are that Cd(2+) acts independently of direct effects on cellular Ca(2+) levels to nevertheless activate Ca(2+)-dependent proteins that shift the actin polymerization-depolymerization in favour of depolymerization. Cadmium-dependent translocation of CaMK-II╬┤, gelsolin, and a 50 kDa gelsolin cleavage fragment to the filamentous (F-)actin cytoskeleton appear to be involved. An intact filamentous actin cytoskeleton is required to initiate apoptotic and apoptotic-like death, but F-actin depolymerization is an eventual result.


Douglas M Templeton, Ying Liu. Effects of cadmium on the actin cytoskeleton in renal mesangial cells. Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology. 2013 Jan;91(1):1-7

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PMID: 23368511

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