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Regulation of Fibronectin Receptor Distribution

Susan E. LaFlamme, Steven K. Akiyama and Kenneth M. Yamada
The Journal of Cell Biology
Vol. 117, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 437-447
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1615151
Page Count: 11
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Regulation of Fibronectin Receptor Distribution
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Abstract

To determine the role of each intracellular domain of the fibronectin receptor in receptor distribution, chimeric receptors were constructed containing the human interleukin-2 receptor (gp55 subunit) as the extracellular and transmembrane domains, in combination with either the α 5 or β 1 intracellular domain of the fibronectin receptor as the cytoplasmic domain. These chimeric receptors were transiently expressed in normal fibroblasts, and their localization on the cell surface was determined by immunofluorescence using antibodies to the human interleukin-2 receptor. The α 5 chimera was expressed diffusely on the plasma membrane. The β 1 chimera, however, colocalized with the endogenous fibronectin receptor at focal contacts of cells spread on fibronectin. On cells spread in the presence of serum, the β 1 chimera colocalized both with the fibronectin receptor at sites of extracellular fibronectin fibrils and with the vitronectin receptor at focal contacts. The β 1 intracellular domain alone, therefore, contains sufficient information to target the chimeric receptor to regions of the cell where ligand-occupied integrin receptors are concentrated. The finding that the β 1 chimeric protein behaves like a ligand-occupied receptor, even though the β 1 chimera cannot itself bind extracellular ligand, suggests an intracellular difference between occupied and unoccupied receptors, and predicts that the distribution of integrin receptors can be regulated by ligand occupancy. We tested this prediction by providing a soluble cell-binding fragment of fibronectin to cells spread on laminin. Under conditions preventing further ligand adsorption to the substrate, this treatment nevertheless resulted in the relocation of diffuse fibronectin receptors to focal contacts. Similarly, a redistribution of diffuse vitronectin receptors to focal contacts occurred on cells spread on laminin after the addition of the small soluble peptide GRGDS. We conclude that the propensity for receptor redistribution to focal contacts driven by the β 1 cytoplasmic domain alone is suppressed in heterodimeric unoccupied fibronectin receptors, and that ligand occupancy can release this constraint. This redistribution of integrin receptors after the binding of a soluble substrate molecule may provide a direct means of assembling adhesion sites.

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