The mammalian diaphanous-related formin (mDia1), a Rho-regulated cytoskeletal modulator, has been shown to promote T lymphocyte chemotaxis and interaction with antigen presenting cells, but the mechanisms underpinning mDia1 roles in these processes have not been defined. Here we show that mDia1-/- T cells exhibit impaired lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1)-mediated T cell adhesion, migration and in vivo trafficking. These defects are associated with impaired microtubule (MT) polarization and stabilization, altered MT dynamics and reduced peripheral clustering of the MT plus-end-protein, adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) in migrating T cells following LFA-1-engagement. Loss of mDia1 also leads to impaired inducible inactivation of the glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3β as well as hyperphosphorylation and reduced levels of APC in migrating T cells. These findings identify essential roles for the mDia1 formin in modulating GSK3β-dependent MT contributions to induction of T-cell polarity, adhesion and motility.
During wound healing, fibroblasts initially migrate into the wound bed and later contract the matrix. Relevant mediators of transcellular contractility revealed by systems analyses are protein kinase c delta/myosin light chain-2 (PKCδ/MLC-2). PKCδ is activated by growth factor-driven PLCγ1 hydrolysis of phosphoinositide bisphosphate (PIP2) hydrolysis when it becomes tranlocated to the membrane. This leads to MLC-2 phosphorylation that regulates myosin for contractility. Furthermore, PKCδ n-terminus mediates PKCδ localization to the membrane in relative proximity to PLCγ1 activity. However, the role this localization and the relationship to its activation and signaling of force is not well understood. Therefore, we investigated whether the membrane localization of PKCδ mediates the transcellular contractility of fibroblasts.
To determine PKCδ activation in targeted membrane locations in mouse fibroblast cells (NR6-WT), two PKCδ constructs were generated; PKCδ-CaaX with farnesylation moiety targeting PKCδ to the membrane and PKCδ-SaaX a non-targeting control.
Increased mean cell force was observed before and during EGF stimulation in fibroblasts expressing membrane-targeted PKCδ (PKCδ-CaaX) when analyzed with 2D cell traction force and 3D compaction of collagen matrix. This effect was reduced in cells deficient in EGFR/PLCy1 signaling. In cells expressing non-membrane targeted PKCδ (PKCδ-SaaX), the cell force exerted outside the ECM (extracellular matrix) was less, but cell motility/speed/persistence was increased after EGF stimulation. Change in cell motility and increased force exertion was also preceded by change in cell morphology. Organization of actin stress fibers was also decreased as a result of increasing membrane targeting of PKCδ.
From these results membrane tethering of PKCδ leads to increased force exertion on ECM. Furthermore, our data show PLCγ1 regulation of PKCδ, at least in part, drives transcellular contractility in fibroblasts.
CAR (Coxsackie and Adenovirus Receptor) is the primary docking receptor for typeB coxsackie viruses and subgroup C adenoviruses. CAR is a member of the JAM family of adhesion receptors and is located to both tight and adherens junctions between epithelial cells where it can assemble adhesive contacts through homodimerisation in trans. However, the role of CAR in controlling epithelial junction dynamics remains poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that levels of CAR in human epithelial cells play a key role in determining epithelial cell adhesion through control of E-cadherin stability at cell-cell junctions. Mechanistically, we show that CAR is phosphorylated within the C-terminus by PKCδ and that this in turn controls Src-dependent endocytosis of E-cadherin at cell junctions. This data demonstrates a novel role for CAR in regulating epithelial homeostasis.
Cell invasion through extracellular matrix (ECM) is a hallmark of the metastatic cascade. Cancer cells require adhesion to surrounding tissues for efficient migration to occur, which is mediated through the integrin family of receptors. Alterations in expression levels of β1 and β3 integrins have previously been reported in a number of human cancers. However, whether there are specific roles for these ubiquitous receptors in mediating cell invasion remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that loss of β1 but not β3 integrins leads to increased spread cell area and focal adhesion number in cells on 2D immobilized fibronectin. Increased adhesion numbers in β1 knockdown cells correlated with decreased cell migration on 2D surfaces. Conversely, cells depleted of β1 integrins showed increased migration speed on 3D cell-derived matrix as well as in 3D organotypic cultures and inverted invasion assays. This increased invasive potential was also seen in cells lacking β3 integrin but only in 3D cultures containing fibroblasts. Mechanistically, in situ analysis using FRET biosensors revealed that enhanced invasion in cells lacking β1 integrins was directly coupled with reduced activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and the small GTPase RhoA resulting in formation of enhanced dynamic protrusions and increased invasion. These reductions in FAK-RhoA signal activationwere not detected in β3 knockdown cells under the same conditions. This data demonstrates a specific role for β1 integrins in the modulation of a FAK-RhoA-actomyosin signaling axis to regulate cell invasion through complex ECM environments.
Contractile actomyosin stress fibers are critical for maintaining the force balance between the interior of the cell and its environment. Consequently, the actin cytoskeleton undergoes dynamic mechanical loading. This results in spontaneous, stochastic, highly localized strain events, characterized by thinning and elongation within a discrete region of stress fiber. Previous work showed the LIM-domain adaptor protein, zyxin, is essential for repair and stabilization of these sites. Using live imaging, we show paxillin, another LIM-domain adaptor protein, is also recruited to stress fiber strain sites. Paxillin recruitment to stress fiber strain sites precedes zyxin recruitment. Zyxin and paxillin are each recruited independently of the other. In cells lacking paxillin, actin recovery is abrogated, resulting in slowed actin recovery and increased incidence of catastrophic stress fiber breaks. For both paxillin and zyxin, the LIM domains are necessary and sufficient for recruitment. This work provides further evidence of the critical role of LIM-domain proteins in responding to mechanical stress in the actin cytoskeleton.
Defects in actin dynamics affect activity-dependent modulation of synaptic transmission and neuronal plasticity, and can cause cognitive impairment. A salient candidate actin-binding protein linking synaptic dysfunction to cognitive deficits is Drebrin (DBN). However, the specific mode of how DBN is regulated at the central synapse is largely unknown. In this study we identify and characterize the interaction of the PTEN tumor suppressor with DBN. Our results demonstrate that PTEN binds DBN and that this interaction results in the dephosphorylation of a site present in the DBN C-terminus - serine 647. PTEN and pS647-DBN segregate into distinct and complimentary compartments in neurons, supporting the idea that PTEN negatively regulates DBN phosphorylation at this site. We further demonstrate that neuronal activity increases phosphorylation of DBN at S647 in hippocampal neurons in vitro and in ex vivo hippocampus slices exhibiting seizure activity, potentially by inducing rapid dissociation of the PTEN:DBN complex. Our results identify a novel mechanism by which PTEN is required to maintain DBN phosphorylation at dynamic range and signifies an unusual regulation of an actin-binding protein linked to cognitive decline and degenerative conditions at the CNS synapse.
The maintenance of endothelial cell-cell junctions is vital for the control of blood vessel leakage and is known to be important in the growth and maturation of new blood vessels during angiogenesis. Here we have investigated the role of a tight junction molecule, Claudin14, in tumour blood vessel leakage, angiogenesis and tumour growth. Using syngeneic tumour models our results showed that genetic ablation of Claudin14 was not sufficient to affect tumour blood vessel morphology or function. However, and surprisingly, Claudin14-heterozygous mice displayed several blood vessel-related phenotypes including: disruption of ZO-1-positive cell-cell junctions in tumour blood vessels; abnormal distribution of basement membrane laminin around tumour blood vessels; increased intratumoural leakage and decreased intratumoural hypoxia. Additionally, although total numbers of tumour blood vessels were increased in Claudin14-heterozygous mice, and in VEGF-stimulated angiogenesis ex vivo, the number of lumenated vessels was not changed between genotypes and this correlated with no difference in syngeneic tumour growth between wild-type, Claudin14-heterozygous and Claudin14-null mice. Lastly, Claudin14-heterozygosity, but not complete deficiency, also enhanced endothelial cell proliferation significantly. These data establish a new role for Claudin14 in the regulation of tumour blood vessel integrity and angiogenesis that is evident only after the partial loss of this molecule in Claudin14-heterozyous mice but not in Claudin14-null mice.
Integrin α3β1 potently promotes cell motility on its ligands, laminin-332 and laminin-511, and this may help to explain why α3β1 has repeatedly been linked to breast carcinoma progression and metastasis. The pro-migratory functions of α3β1 depend strongly on lateral interactions with cell surface tetraspanin proteins. Tetraspanin CD151 interacts directly with the α3 integrin subunit and links α3β1 integrin to other tetraspanins, including CD9 and CD81. Loss of CD151 disrupts α3β1 association with other tetraspanins and impairs α3β1-dependent motility. However, the extent to which tetraspanins other than CD151 are required for specific α3β1 functions is unclear. To begin to clarify which aspects of α3β1 function require which tetraspanins, we created breast carcinoma cells depleted of both CD9 and CD81 by RNA interference. Silencing both of these closely related tetraspanins was required to uncover their contributions to α3β1 function. We then directly compared our CD9/CD81-silenced cells to CD151-silenced cells. Both CD9/CD81-silenced cells and CD151-silenced cells showed delayed α3β1-dependent cell spreading on laminin-332. Surprisingly, however, once fully spread, CD9/CD81-silenced cells, but not CD151-silenced cells, displayed impaired α3β1-dependent directed motility and altered front-rear cell morphology. Also unexpectedly, the CD9/CD81 complex, but not CD151, was required to promote α3β1 association with PKCα in breast carcinoma cells, and a PKC inhibitor mimicked aspects of the CD9/CD81-silenced cell motility defect. Our data reveal overlapping, but surprisingly distinct contributions of specific tetraspanins to α3β1 integrin function. Importantly, some of CD9/CD81's α3β1 regulatory functions may not require CD9/CD81 to be physically linked to α3β1 by CD151.
Activation of the ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase stimulates breast cancer cell migration. Cell migration is a complex process that requires the synchronized reorganization of numerous subcellular structures including cell-to-matrix adhesions, the actin cytoskeleton and microtubules. How the multiple signaling pathways triggered by ErbB2 coordinate, in time and space, the various processes involved in cell motility, is poorly defined. We investigated the mechanism whereby ErbB2 controls microtubules and chemotaxis. We report that activation of ErbB2 increased both cell velocity and directed migration. Impairment of the Cdc42 and RhoA GTPases, but not of Rac1, prevented the chemotactic response. RhoA is a key component of the Memo/ACF7 pathway whereby ErbB2 controls microtubule capture at the leading edge. Upon Memo or ACF7 depletion, microtubules failed to reach the leading edge and cells lost their ability to follow the chemotactic gradient. Constitutive ACF7 targeting to the membrane in Memo-depleted cells reestablished directed migration. ErbB2-mediated activation of phospholipase C gamma (PLCγ) also contributed to cell guidance. We further showed that PLCγ signaling, via classical protein kinases C, and Memo signaling converged towards a single pathway controlling the microtubule capture complex. Finally, inhibiting the PI3K/Akt pathway did not affect microtubule capture, but disturbed microtubule stability, which also resulted in defective chemotaxis. PI3K/Akt-dependent stabilization of microtubules involved repression of GSK3 activity on the one hand and inhibition of the microtubule destabilizing protein, Stathmin, on the other hand. Thus, ErbB2 triggers distinct and complementary pathways that tightly coordinate microtubule capture and microtubule stability to control chemotaxis.
We developed new image analysis tools to analyse quantitatively the extracellular-matrix-dependent cell spreading process imaged by live-cell epifluorescence microscopy. Using these tools, we investigated cell spreading induced by activation of the small GTPase, Rap1. After replating and initial adhesion, unstimulated cells exhibited extensive protrusion and retraction as their spread area increased, and displayed an angular shape that was remodelled over time. In contrast, activation of endogenous Rap1, via 007-mediated stimulation of Epac1, induced protrusion along the entire cell periphery, resulting in a rounder spread surface, an accelerated spreading rate and an increased spread area compared to control cells. Whereas basal, anisotropic, spreading was completely dependent on Src activity, Rap1-induced spreading was refractory to Src inhibition. Under Src inhibited conditions, the characteristic Src-induced tyrosine phosphorylations of FAK and paxillin did not occur, but Rap1 could induce the formation of actomyosin-connected adhesions, which contained vinculin at levels comparable to that found in unperturbed focal adhesions. From these results, we conclude that Rap1 can induce cell adhesion and stimulate an accelerated rate of cell spreading through mechanisms that bypass the canonical FAK-Src-Paxillin signalling cascade.
Actinomyosin activity is an important driver of cell locomotion and has been shown to promote collective cell migration of epithelial sheets as well as single cell migration and tumor cell invasion. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying activation of cortical myosin to stimulate single cell movement, and the relationship between the mechanisms that drive single cell locomotion and those that mediate collective cell migration of epithelial sheets are incompletely understood. Here, we demonstrate that p114RhoGEF, an activator of RhoA that associates with non-muscle myosin IIA, regulates collective cell migration of epithelial sheets and tumor cell invasion. Depletion of p114RhoGEF resulted in specific spatial inhibition of myosin activation at cell-cell contacts in migrating epithelial sheets and the cortex of migrating single cells, but only affected double and not single phosphorylation of myosin light chain. In agreement, overall elasticity and contractility of the cells, processes that rely on persistent and more constant forces, were not affected, suggesting that p114RhoGEF mediates process-specific myosin activation. Locomotion was p114RhoGEF-dependent on Matrigel, which favors more roundish cells and amoeboid-like actinomyosin-driven movement, but not on fibronectin, which stimulates flatter cells and lamellipodia-driven, mesenchymal-like migration. Accordingly, depletion of p114RhoGEF led to reduced RhoA, but increased Rac activity. Invasion of 3D matrices was p114RhoGEF-dependent under conditions that do not require metalloproteinase activity, supporting a role of p114RhoGEF in myosin-dependent, amoeboid-like locomotion. Our data demonstrate that p114RhoGEF drives cortical myosin activation by stimulating myosin light chain double phosphorylation and, thereby, collective cell migration of epithelial sheets and amoeboid-like motility of tumor cells.
Mutation of a critical residue of fascin eliminates the protein’s actin-bundling activity but maintains its positive role in filopodia formation
Fascin is an evolutionarily conserved actin-binding protein that plays a key role in forming filopodia. It is widely thought that this function involves fascin directly bundling actin filaments, which is controlled by an N-terminal regulatory serine residue. In this paper, by studying cellular processes in Drosophila melanogaster that require fascin activity, we identify a regulatory residue within the C-terminal region of the protein (S289). Unexpectedly, although mutation (S289A) of this residue disrupted the actin-bundling capacity of fascin, fascin S289A fully rescued filopodia formation in fascin mutant flies. Live imaging of migrating macrophages in vivo revealed that this mutation restricted the localization of fascin to the distal ends of filopodia. The corresponding mutation of human fascin (S274) similarly affected its interaction with actin and altered filopodia dynamics within carcinoma cells. These data reveal an evolutionarily conserved role for this regulatory region and unveil a function for fascin, uncoupled from actin bundling, at the distal end of filopodia.
After neoplastic cells leave the primary tumor and circulate, they may extravasate from the vasculature and colonize tissues to form metastases. β1 integrins play diverse roles in tumorigenesis and tumor progression, including extravasation. In blood cells, activation of β1 integrins can be regulated by “inside-out” signals leading to extravasation from the circulation into tissues. However, a role for inside-out β1 activation in tumor cell metastasis is uncertain. Here we show that β1 integrin activation promotes tumor metastasis and that activated β1 integrin may serve as a biomarker of metastatic human melanoma. To determine whether β1 integrin activation can influence tumor cell metastasis, the β1 integrin subunit in melanoma and breast cancer cell lines was stably knocked down with shRNA and replaced with wild-type or constitutively-active β1. When tumor cells expressing constitutively-active β1 integrins were injected intravenously into chick embryos or mice, they demonstrated increased colonization of the liver when compared to cells expressing wild-type β1 integrins. Rescue expression with mutant β1 integrins revealed that tumor cell extravasation and hepatic colonization required extracellular ligand binding to β1 as well as β1 interaction with talin, an intracellular mediator of integrin activation by the Rap1 GTPase. Furthermore, shRNA-mediated knock down of talin reduced hepatic colonization by tumor cells expressing wild-type β1, but not constitutively-active β1. Overexpression in tumor cells of the tumor suppressor, Rap1GAP, inhibited Rap1 and β1 integrin activation as well as hepatic colonization. Using an antibody that detects activated β1 integrin, we found higher levels of activated β1 integrins in human metastatic melanomas compared to primary melanomas, suggesting that activated β1 integrin may serve as a biomarker of invasive tumor cells. Altogether, these studies establish that inside-out activation of β1 integrins promotes tumor cell extravasation and colonization, suggesting diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for targeting of β1 integrin signaling in neoplasia.
Fascin-1 is an actin crosslinking protein that is important for the assembly of cell protrusions in neurons, skeletal and smooth muscle, fibroblasts, and dendritic cells. Although absent from most normal adult epithelia, fascin-1 is upregulated in many human carcinomas, and is associated with poor prognosis because of its promotion of carcinoma cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. Rac and Cdc42 small guanine triphosphatases have been identified as upstream regulators of the association of fascin-1 with actin, but the possible role of Rho has remained obscure. Additionally, experiments have been hampered by the inability to measure the fascin-1/actin interaction directly in intact cells. We investigated the hypothesis that fascin-1 is a functional target of Rho in normal and carcinoma cells, using experimental approaches that included a novel fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)/fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) method to measure the interaction of fascin-1 with actin.
Rho activity modulates the interaction of fascin-1 with actin, as detected by a novel FRET method, in skeletal myoblasts and human colon carcinoma cells. Mechanistically, Rho regulation depends on Rho kinase activity, is independent of the status of myosin II activity, and is not mediated by promotion of the fascin/PKC complex. The p-Lin-11/Isl-1/Mec-3 kinases (LIMK), LIMK1 and LIMK2, act downstream of Rho kinases as novel binding partners of fascin-1, and this complex regulates the stability of filopodia.
We have identified a novel activity of Rho in promoting a complex between fascin-1 and LIMK1/2 that modulates the interaction of fascin-1 with actin. These data provide new mechanistic insight into the intracellular coordination of contractile and protrusive actin-based structures. During the course of the study, we developed a novel FRET method for analysis of the fascin-1/actin interaction, with potential general applicability for analyzing the activities of actin-binding proteins in intact cells.
Electrical gradients are present in many developing and regenerating tissues and around tumours. Mimicking endogenous electric fields in vitro has profound effects on the behaviour of many cell types. Intriguingly, specific cell types migrate cathodally, others anodally and some polarise with their long axis perpendicular to the electric vector. These striking phenomena are likely to have in vivo relevance since one of the determining factors during cancer metastasis is the ability to switch between attractive and repulsive migration in response to extracellular guidance stimuli. We present evidence that the cervical cancer cell line HeLa migrates cathodally in a direct current electric field of physiological intensity, while the strongly metastatic prostate cancer cell line PC-3-M migrates anodally. Notably, genetic disruption of protein serine/threonine phosphatase-1 (PP1) and its regulator NIPP1 decrease directional migration in these cell lines. Conversely, the inducible expression of NIPP1 switched the directional response of HeLa cells from cathodal to slightly anodal in a PP1-dependent manner. Remarkably, induction of a hyperactive PP1/NIPP1 holoenzyme, further shifted directional migration towards the anode. We show that PP1 association with NIPP1 upregulates signalling by the GTPase Cdc42 and demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of Cdc42 in cells overexpressing NIPP1 recovered cathodal migration. Taken together, we provide the first evidence for regulation of directional cell migration by NIPP1. In addition, we identify PP1/NIPP1 as a novel molecular compass that controls directed cell migration via upregulation of Cdc42 signalling and suggest a way by which PP1/NIPP1 may contribute to the migratory properties of cancer cells.
The contractile system of nonmuscle cells consists of interconnected actomyosin networks and bundles anchored to focal adhesions. The initiation of the contractile system assembly is poorly understood structurally and mechanistically, whereas system’s maturation heavily depends on nonmuscle myosin II (NMII). Using platinum replica electron microscopy in combination with fluorescence microscopy, we characterized the structural mechanisms of the contractile system assembly and roles of NMII at early stages of this process. We show that inhibition of NMII by a specific inhibitor, blebbistatin, in addition to known effects, such as disassembly of stress fibers and mature focal adhesions, also causes transformation of lamellipodia into unattached ruffles, loss of immature focal complexes, loss of cytoskeleton-associated NMII filaments and peripheral accumulation of activated, but unpolymerized NMII. After blebbistatin washout, assembly of the contractile system begins with quick and coordinated recovery of lamellipodia and focal complexes that occurs before reappearance of NMII bipolar filaments. The initial formation of focal complexes and subsequent assembly of NMII filaments preferentially occurred in association with filopodial bundles and concave actin bundles formed by filopodial roots at the lamellipodial base. Over time, accumulating NMII filaments help to transform the precursor structures, focal complexes and associated thin bundles, into stress fibers and mature focal adhesions. However, semi-sarcomeric organization of stress fibers develops at much slower rate. Together, our data suggest that activation of NMII motor activity by light chain phosphorylation occurs at the cell edge and is uncoupled from NMII assembly into bipolar filaments. We propose that activated, but unpolymerized NMII initiates focal complexes, thus providing traction for lamellipodial protrusion. Subsequently, the mechanical resistance of focal complexes activates a load-dependent mechanism of NMII polymerization in association with attached bundles, leading to assembly of stress fibers and maturation of focal adhesions.
Cell adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins or to other cells is essential for the control of embryonic development, tissue integrity, immune function and wound healing. Adhesions are tightly spatially regulated structures containing over one hundred different proteins that coordinate both dynamics and signaling events at these sites. Extensive biochemical and morphological analysis of adhesion types over the past three decades has greatly improved understanding of individual protein contributions to adhesion signaling and, in some cases, dynamics. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that these diverse macromolecular complexes contain a variety of protein sub-networks, as well as distinct sub-domains that likely play important roles in regulating adhesion behavior. Until recently, resolving these structures, which are often less than a micron in size, was hampered by the limitations of conventional light microscopy. However, recent advances in optical techniques and imaging methods have revealed exciting insight into the intricate control of adhesion structure and assembly. Here we provide an overview of the recent data arising from such studies of cell:matrix and cell:cell contact and an overview of the imaging strategies that have been applied to study the intricacies and hierarchy of proteins within adhesions.
adhesion; migration; microscopy; dynamics; cytoskeleton; photobleaching; super-resolution imaging; fluorescence
Cell migration is a highly regulated process that involves the formation and turnover of cell-matrix contact sites termed focal adhesions. Rho-family GTPases are molecular switches that regulate actin and focal adhesion dynamics in cells. Guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) activate Rho-family GTPases. Rgnef (p190RhoGEF) is a ubiquitous 190 kDa GEF implicated in the control of colon carcinoma and fibroblast cell motility.
Rgnef exon 24 floxed mice (Rgnefflox) were created and crossed with cytomegalovirus (CMV)-driven Cre recombinase transgenic mice to inactivate Rgnef expression in all tissues during early development. Heterozygous RgnefWT/flox (Cre+) crosses yielded normal Mendelian ratios at embryonic day 13.5, but Rgnefflox/flox (Cre+) mice numbers at 3 weeks of age were significantly less than expected. Rgnefflox/flox (Cre+) (Rgnef−/−) embryos and primary mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) were isolated and verified to lack Rgnef protein expression. When compared to wildtype (WT) littermate MEFs, loss of Rgnef significantly inhibited haptotaxis migration, wound closure motility, focal adhesion number, and RhoA GTPase activation after fibronectin-integrin stimulation. In WT MEFs, Rgnef activation occurs within 60 minutes upon fibronectin plating of cells associated with RhoA activation. Rgnef−/− MEF phenotypes were rescued by epitope-tagged Rgnef re-expression.
Rgnef−/− MEF phenotypes were due to Rgnef loss and support an essential role for Rgnef in RhoA regulation downstream of integrins in control of cell migration.
Cell migration is of paramount importance to organism development and maintenance as well as multiple pathological processes, including cancer metastasis. The RhoGTPases Rac1 and RhoA are indispensable for cell migration as they regulate cell protrusion, cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions and force transduction. However, the consequences of their activity at a molecular level within the cell remain undetermined. Using a combination of FRET, FRAP and biochemical analyses we show that the interactions between the focal adhesion proteins vinculin and paxillin, as well as the closely related family member Hic-5 are spatially and reciprocally regulated by the activity of Rac1 and RhoA. Vinculin in its active conformation interacts with either paxillin or Hic-5 in adhesions in response to Rac1 and RhoA activation respectively, while inactive vinculin interacts with paxillin in the membrane following Rac1 inhibition. Additionally, Rac1 specifically regulates the dynamics of paxillin as well as its binding partner and F-actin interacting protein actopaxin (α-parvin) in adhesions. Furthermore, FRET analysis of protein:protein interactions within cell adhesions formed in 3D matrices revealed that, in contrast to 2D systems vinculin interacts preferentially with Hic-5. This study provides new insight into the complexity of cell-ECM adhesions in both 2D and 3D matrices by providing the first description of RhoGTPase-coordinated protein:protein interactions in a cellular microenvironment. These data identify discrete roles for paxillin and Hic-5 in Rac1 and RhoA-dependent cell adhesion formation and maturation; processes essential for productive cell migration.
Anchorage of muscle cells to the extracellular matrix is crucial for a range of fundamental biological processes including migration, survival and differentiation. Three-dimensional (3D) culture has been proposed to provide a more physiological in vitro model of muscle growth and differentiation than routine 2D cultures. However, muscle cell adhesion and cell-matrix interplay of engineered muscle tissue remain to be determined. We have characterized cell-matrix interactions in 3D muscle culture and analyzed their consequences on cell differentiation. Human myoblasts were embedded in a fibrin matrix cast between two posts, cultured until confluence, and then induced to differentiate. Myoblasts in 3D aligned along the longitudinal axis of the gel. They displayed actin stress fibers evenly distributed around the nucleus and a cortical mesh of thin actin filaments. Adhesion sites in 3D were smaller in size than in rigid 2D culture but expression of adhesion site proteins, including α5 integrin and vinculin, was higher in 3D compared with 2D (p<0.05). Myoblasts and myotubes in 3D exhibited thicker and ellipsoid nuclei instead of the thin disk-like shape of the nuclei in 2D (p<0.001). Differentiation kinetics were faster in 3D as demonstrated by higher mRNA concentrations of α-actinin and myosin. More important, the elastic modulus of engineered muscle tissues increased significantly from 3.5±0.8 to 7.4±4.7 kPa during proliferation (p<0.05) and reached 12.2±6.0 kPa during differentiation (p<0.05), thus attesting the increase of matrix stiffness during proliferation and differentiation of the myocytes. In conclusion, we reported modulations of the adhesion complexes, the actin cytoskeleton and nuclear shape in 3D compared with routine 2D muscle culture. These findings point to complex interactions between muscle cells and the surrounding matrix with dynamic regulation of the cell-matrix stiffness.
Both spatiotemporal analyses of adhesion signalling and the development of pharmacological inhibitors of integrin adhesion receptors currently suffer from the lack of an assay to measure integrin-effector binding and the response of these interactions to agonists. Here, we have expressed integrin-GFP and effector-mRFP pairs in living cells and quantified their association using FLIM to measure FRET. Talin-β1 and paxillin-α4 association was both ligand- and receptor activation state-dependent, and sensitive to inhibition with small molecule RGD and LDV mimetics, respectively. An adaptation of the assay revealed the agonistic activity of these small molecules and provides a new, quantitative assay for the screening of activity of small molecule integrin inhibitors.
Talin is a large (∼2540 residues) dimeric adaptor protein that associates with the integrin family of cell adhesion molecules in cell-extracellular matrix junctions (focal adhesions; FAs), where it both activates integrins and couples them to the actin cytoskeleton. Calpain2-mediated cleavage of talin between the head and rod domains has previously been shown to be important in FA turnover. Here we identify an additional calpain2-cleavage site that removes the dimerisation domain from the C-terminus of the talin rod, and show that an E2492G mutation inhibits calpain cleavage at this site in vitro, and increases the steady state levels of talin1 in vivo. Expression of a GFP-tagged talin1 E2492G mutant in CHO.K1 cells inhibited FA turnover and the persistence of cell protrusion just as effectively as a L432G mutation that inhibits calpain cleavage between the talin head and rod domains. Moreover, incorporation of both mutations into a single talin molecule had an additive effect clearly demonstrating that calpain cleavage at both the N- and C-terminal regions of talin contribute to the regulation of FA dynamics. However, the N-terminal site was more sensitive to calpain cleavage suggesting that lower levels of calpain are required to liberate the talin head and rod fragments than are needed to clip off the C-terminal dimerisation domain. The talin head and rod liberated by calpain2 cleavage have recently been shown to play roles in an integrin activation cycle important in FA turnover and in FAK-dependent cell cycle progression respectively. The half-life of the talin head is tightly regulated by ubiquitination and we suggest that removal of the C-terminal dimerisation domain from the talin rod may provide a mechanism both for terminating the signalling function of the talin rod and indeed for inactivating full-length talin thereby promoting FA turnover at the rear of the cell.
Talins and kindlins bind to the integrin β3 cytoplasmic tail and both are required for effective activation of integrin αIIbβ3 and resulting high-affinity ligand binding in platelets. However, binding of the talin head domain alone to β3 is sufficient to activate purified integrin αIIbβ3 in vitro. Since talin is localized to the cytoplasm of unstimulated platelets, its re-localization to the plasma membrane and to the integrin is required for activation. Here we explored the mechanism whereby kindlins function as integrin co-activators. To test whether kindlins regulate talin recruitment to plasma membranes and to αIIbβ3, full-length talin and kindlin recruitment to β3 was studied using a reconstructed CHO cell model system that recapitulates agonist-induced αIIbβ3 activation. Over-expression of kindlin-2, the endogenous kindlin isoform in CHO cells, promoted PAR1-mediated and talin-dependent ligand binding. In contrast, shRNA knockdown of kindlin-2 inhibited ligand binding. However, depletion of kindlin-2 by shRNA did not affect talin recruitment to the plasma membrane, as assessed by sub-cellular fractionation, and neither over-expression of kindlins nor depletion of kindlin-2 affected talin interaction with αIIbβ3 in living cells, as monitored by bimolecular fluorescence complementation. Furthermore, talin failed to promote kindlin-2 association with αIIbβ3 in CHO cells. In addition, purified talin and kindlin-3, the kindlin isoform expressed in platelets, failed to promote each other's binding to the β3 cytoplasmic tail in vitro. Thus, kindlins do not promote initial talin recruitment to αIIbβ3, suggesting that they co-activate integrin through a mechanism independent of recruitment.
ROCK1 and ROCK2 are serine/threonine kinases that function downstream of the small GTP-binding protein RhoA. Rho signalling via ROCK regulates a number of cellular functions including organisation of the actin cytoskeleton, cell adhesion and cell migration.
In this study we use RNAi to specifically knockdown ROCK1 and ROCK2 and analyse their role in assembly of adhesion complexes in human epidermal keratinocytes. We observe that loss of ROCK1 inhibits signalling via focal adhesion kinase resulting in a failure of immature adhesion complexes to form mature stable focal adhesions. In contrast, loss of ROCK2 expression results in a significant reduction in adhesion complex turnover leading to formation of large, stable focal adhesions. Interestingly, loss of either ROCK1 or ROCK2 expression significantly impairs cell migration indicating both ROCK isoforms are required for normal keratinocyte migration.
ROCK1 and ROCK2 have distinct and separate roles in adhesion complex assembly and turnover in human epidermal keratinocytes.