[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma (PI3Kgamma) plays a fundamental role in mediating leukocyte migration to inflammation sites. However, the downstream cytoplasmic events triggered by its signaling activity are still largely obscure. To address this issue, tyrosine and serine/threonine phosphorylated proteins of chemokine-stimulated WT or PI3Kgamma-null macrophages were investigated. Among the proteins analyzed, the intermediate filament vimentin was found as a downstream effector of the PI3Kgamma signaling pathway. Specific analysis of the phosphorylation state of vimentin in macrophages showed that this protein becomes rapidly phosphorylated in both tyrosine and serine residues upon chemokine stimulation. In the absence of PI3Kgamma or the kinase activity of PI3Kgamma (PI3Kgamma(KD/KD)), phosphorylation of vimentin was reduced. PI3Kgamma-null macrophages displayed impaired chemokine-driven vimentin fiber disassembly as well as reduced ability to transmigrate across endothelial cells. While WT macrophages infected with a vimentin mutant resistant to N-terminal serine phosphorylation showed a reduction in transendothelial migration, infection of PI3Kgamma-null macrophages with a vimentin mutant mimicking serine phosphorylation of N-terminal residues rescued the transendothelial migration defect. These results define vimentin N-terminal phosphorylation and fiber reorganization as a target of chemokine-dependent PI3Kgamma signaling in leukocytes.
European Journal of Immunology 04/2009; 39(4):1136-46. DOI:10.1002/eji.200838884 · 4.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The family of class I phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) is composed of four lipid kinases involved at multiple levels in innate and adaptive immune responses. Class I PI3Ks are divided into two subclasses, IA and IB, sharing a similar catalytic core. Whereas class IA PI3Ks are primarily activated by receptor tyrosine kinases, the unique element of class IB PI3K (PI3Kgamma) is activated by G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), like chemokine receptors. PI3Kgamma is mainly expressed in leukocytes where it plays a significant role in chemotaxis. Here, we report recent advances in the analysis of the role of PI3Kgamma in leukocytes and in endothelial cells. Results, derived from studies based on both pharmacological and genetic approaches, confirm PI3Kgamma as an attractive target for drug discovery. PI3Kgamma specific inhibition has gained increasing attention for the treatment of allergic, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Development of inhibitors has already provided series of hits, whose efficacy is currently under scrutiny worldwide.
Thrombosis and Haemostasis 03/2008; 99(2):279-85. DOI:10.1160/TH07-10-0632 · 5.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vitro labelling of cells permits incorporation of large amounts of iron oxide and consequently high detection sensitivity, but it remains controversial whether labelled cells would respond normally to stimuli. This question was addressed by differentiating bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) in vitro, labelling cells with high concentrations of Endorem in vitro, and eliminating unlabelled cells by magnetic enrichment. To explore their acute inflammatory response, enriched cells were injected into mice with carrageenan-induced inflammation, the 'air pouch model'. Cells recovered from the inflammation site 16 h after intravenous BMDM injection into the tail vein were analysed by in vitro MRI and fluorescent microscopy. With both assays, Endorem-labelled cells were detectable. This indicates that BMDMs, loaded with high concentrations of iron oxide in vitro, can still respond to chemokine gradients and infiltrate inflamed tissue in mice. Furthermore, by using genetically modified mice as BMDM donors, it should be possible to study the role of individual genes in macrophage recruitment.
NMR in Biomedicine 02/2008; 21(2):120-8. DOI:10.1002/nbm.1168 · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated whether phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase gamma (PI3Kgamma) plays a role in reparative neovascularization and endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) function.
Unilateral limb ischemia was induced in mice lacking the PI3Kgamma gene (PI3Kgamma-/-) or expressing a catalytically inactive mutant (PI3Kgamma(KD/KD)) and wild-type controls (WT). Capillarization and arteriogenesis were reduced in PI3Kgamma-/- ischemic muscles resulting in delayed reperfusion compared with WT, whereas reparative neovascularization was preserved in PI3Kgamma(KD/KD). In PI3Kgamma-/- muscles, endothelial cell proliferation was reduced, apoptosis was increased, and interstitial space was infiltrated with leukocytes but lacked cKit+ progenitor cells that in WT muscles typically surrounded arterioles. PI3Kgamma is constitutively expressed by WT EPCs, with expression levels being upregulated by hypoxia. PI3Kgamma-/- EPCs showed a defect in proliferation, survival, integration into endothelial networks, and migration toward SDF-1. The dysfunctional phenotype was associated with nuclear constraining of FOXO1, reduced Akt and eNOS phosphorylation, and decreased nitric oxide (NO) production. Pretreatment with an NO donor corrected the migratory defect of PI3Kgamma-/- EPCs. PI3Kgamma(KD/KD) EPCs showed reduced Akt phosphorylation, but constitutive activation of eNOS and preserved proliferation, survival, and migration.
We newly demonstrated that PI3Kgamma modulates angiogenesis, arteriogenesis, and vasculogenesis by mechanisms independent from its kinase activity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polarization of chemotaxing cells depends on positive feedback loops that amplify shallow gradients of chemoattractants into sharp intracellular responses. In particular, reciprocal activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3Ks) and small GTPases like Rac leads to accumulation, at the leading edge, of the PI3K product phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3). Mice carrying a "knockin" allele of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-activated PI3Kgamma, encoding a plasma membrane-targeted protein appeared normal, but their leukocytes showed GPCR-uncoupled PIP3 accumulation. In vivo, the mutation increased proliferation and decreased apoptosis, leading to leukocytosis and delayed resolution of inflammation in wound healing. Mutant leukocytes showed significantly impaired directional cell migration in response to chemoattractants. Stimulated mutant macrophages did not polarize PIP3 and showed a shortened Rac activation because of enhanced PI3K-dependent activation of RacGAPs. Together with the finding that chemoattractants stimulate a PIP3-dependent GAP activation in wild-type macrophages, these results identify a molecular mechanism involving PI3K- and RacGAP-dependent negative control of Rac that limits and fine-tunes feedback loops promoting cell polarization and directional motility.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2007; 104(36):14354-9. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0703175104 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DCs) are indispensable for initiation of primary T cell responses and a host's defense against infection. Many proinflammatory stimuli induce DCs to mature (mDCs), but little is known about the ability of chemokines to modulate their maturation. In the present study, we report that CCL16 is a potent maturation factor for monocyte-derived DCs (MoDCs) through differential use of its four receptors and an indirect regulator of Th cell differentiation. MoDCs induced to mature by CCL16 are characterized by increased expression of CD80 and CD86, MHC class II molecules, and ex novo expression of CD83 and CCR7. They produce many chemokines to attract monocytes and T cells and are also strong stimulators in activating allogeneic T cells to skew toward Th1 differentiation. Interestingly, they are still able to take up Ag and express chemokine receptors usually bound by inflammatory ligands and can be induced to migrate to different sites where they capture Ags. Our findings indicate that induction of MoDC maturation is an important property of CCL16 and suggest that chemokines may not only organize the migration of MoDCs, but also directly regulate their ability to prime T cell responses.
The Journal of Immunology 12/2006; 177(9):6143-51. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.177.9.6143 · 5.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The concerted activation of leukocytes and vessels shapes multiple physiological and pathological responses. A large number of these processes shares a common signal transduction platform involving the activation of plasma membrane bound G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). This event is usually amplified by the production of different intra-cellular second messenger molecules. Among these mediators, the phosphorylated lipid phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) produced by phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma (PI3Kgamma) has recently emerged as a crucial signal in both vascular and white blood cells. The generation of mice lacking PI3Kgamma showed that the GPCR/PI3Kgamma/PIP3 signaling pathway controls diverse immune modulatory and vascular functions like respiratory burst, cell recruitment, mast cell reactivity, platelet aggregation, endothelial activation as well as smooth muscle contractility. The relative specificity of these events suggests that blocking PI3Kgamma function might turn out beneficial for diseases like inflammation, allergy, thrombosis, and major cardiovascular disorders like hypertension, thus offering a wide range of therapeutic opportunities.
Thrombosis and Haemostasis 02/2006; 95(1):29-35. · 5.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Translocations of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene have been described in anaplastic large-cell lymphomas (ALCLs) and in stromal tumors. The most frequent translocation, t(2;5), generates the fusion protein nucleophosmin (NPM)-ALK with intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity. Along with transformation, NPM-ALK induces morphologic changes in fibroblasts and lymphoid cells, suggesting a direct role of ALK in cell shaping. In this study, we used a mass-spectrometry-based proteomic approach to search for proteins involved in cytoskeleton remodeling and identified p130Cas (p130 Crk-associated substrate) as a novel interactor of NPM-ALK. In 293 cells and in fibroblasts as well as in human ALK-positive lymphoma cell lines, NPM-ALK was able to bind p130Cas and to induce its phosphorylation. Both of the effects were dependent on ALK kinase activity and on the adaptor protein growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2), since no binding or phosphorylation was found with the kinase-dead mutant NPM-ALK(K210R) or in the presence of a Grb2 dominant-negative protein. Phosphorylation of p130Cas by NPM-ALK was partially independent from Src (tyrosine kinase pp60c-src) kinase activity, as it was still detectable in Syf-/- cells. Finally, p130Cas-/- (also known as Bcar1-/-) fibroblasts expressing NPM-ALK showed impaired actin filament depolymerization and were no longer transformed compared with wild-type cells, indicating an essential role of p130Cas activation in ALK-mediated transformation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypertension affects nearly 20% of the population in Western countries and strongly increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases. In the pathogenesis of hypertension, the vasoactive peptide of the renin-angiotensin system, angiotensin II and its G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), play a crucial role by eliciting reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mediating vessel contractility. Here we show that mice lacking the GPCR-activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)gamma are protected from hypertension that is induced by administration of angiotensin II in vivo. PI3Kgamma was found to play a role in angiotensin II-evoked smooth muscle contraction in two crucial, distinct signaling pathways. In response to angiotensin II, PI3Kgamma was required for the activation of Rac and the subsequent triggering of ROS production. Conversely, PI3Kgamma was necessary to activate protein kinase B/Akt, which, in turn, enhanced L-type Ca(2+) channel-mediated extracellular Ca(2+) entry. These data indicate that PI3Kgamma is a key transducer of the intracellular signals that are evoked by angiotensin II and suggest that blocking PI3Kgamma function might be exploited to improve therapeutic intervention on hypertension.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 05/2005; 201(8):1217-28. DOI:10.1084/jem.20040995 · 13.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac beta-adrenergic and the muscarinic receptors control contractility and heart rate by triggering multiple signaling events involving downstream targets like the phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma (PI3Kgamma). We thus investigated whether the lack of PI3Kgamma could play a role in the autonomic regulation of the mouse heart. Contractility and ICaL of mutant cardiac preparations appeared increased in basal conditions and after beta-adrenergic stimulation. However, basal and beta-adrenergic stimulated heart rate were normal. Conversely, muscarinic inhibition of heart rate was reduced without alteration of the Gbetagamma-dependent stimulation of IK,ACh current. In addition, muscarinic-mediated anti-adrenergic effect on papillary muscle contractility and ICaL was significantly depressed. Consistently, cAMP level of PI3Kgamma-null ventricles was always higher than wild-type controls. Thus, PI3Kgamma controls the cardiac function by reducing cAMP concentration independently of Gi-mediated signaling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The concerted activation of leukocytes and vessels shapes multiple physiological and pathological responses. A large number of these processes shares a common signal transduction platform involving the activation of plasma membrane bound G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). This event is usually amplified by the production of different intra-cellular second messenger molecules. Among these mediators, the phosphorylated lipid phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) produced by phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma (PI3K gamma) has recently emerged as a crucial signal in both vascular and white blood cells. The generation of mice lacking PI3K gamma showed that the GPCR/PI3K gamma/PIP3 signaling pathway controls diverse immune modulatory and vascular functions like respiratory burst, cell recruitment, mast cell reactivity, platelet aggregation, endothelial activation as well as smooth muscle contractility. The relative specificity of these events suggests that blocking PI3K gamma function might turn out beneficial for diseases like inflammation, allergy, thrombosis, and major cardiovascular disorders like hypertension, thus offering a wide range of therapeutic opportunities.
Thrombosis and Haemostasis 01/2005; 95(1). DOI:10.1160/TH05-07-0476 · 5.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene-targeted mice were used to evaluate the role of the gamma isoform of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3Kgamma) in dendritic cell (DC) migration and induction of specific T-cell-mediated immune responses. DC obtained from PI3Kgamma-/- mice showed a reduced ability to respond to chemokines in vitro and ex vivo and to travel to draining lymph nodes under inflammatory conditions. PI3Kgamma-/- mice had a selective defect in the number of skin Langerhans cells and in lymph node CD8alpha- DC. Furthermore, PI3Kgamma-/- mice showed a defective capacity to mount contact hypersensitivity and delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions. This defect was directly related to the reduced ability of antigen-loaded DC to migrate from the periphery to draining lymph nodes. Thus, PI3Kgamma plays a nonredundant role in DC trafficking and in the activation of specific immunity. Therefore, PI3Kgamma may be considered a new target to control exaggerated immune reactions.
The EMBO Journal 10/2004; 23(17):3505-15. DOI:10.1038/sj.emboj.7600361 · 10.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The G protein-coupled, receptor-activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma (PI3Kgamma) mediates inflammatory responses and negatively controls cardiac contractility by reducing cAMP concentration. Here, we report that mice carrying a targeted mutation in the PI3Kgamma gene causing loss of kinase activity (PI3KgammaKD/KD) display reduced inflammatory reactions but no alterations in cardiac contractility. We show that, in PI3KgammaKD/KD hearts, cAMP levels are normal and that PI3Kgamma-deficient mice but not PI3KgammaKD/KD mice develop dramatic myocardial damage after chronic pressure overload induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC). Finally, our data indicate that PI3Kgamma is an essential component of a complex controlling PDE3B phosphodiesterase-mediated cAMP destruction. Thus, cardiac PI3Kgamma participates in two distinct signaling pathways: a kinase-dependent activity that controls PKB/Akt as well as MAPK phosphorylation and contributes to TAC-induced cardiac remodeling, and a kinase-independent activity that relies on protein interactions to regulate PDE3B activity and negatively modulates cardiac contractility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infantile malignant autosomal recessive osteopetrosis is a genetically heterogeneous disease caused by the inability of OCLs to resorb and remodel bone, resulting in generalized osteosclerosis and obliteration of marrow spaces and cranial foramina. The classical clinical features are pathological fractures, visual impairment, and bone marrow failure. Two human genes have been described as the cause of this form of osteopetrosis: the T-cell immune-regulator-1 (TCIRG1) gene, which is mutated in >50% of the patients, and the chloride channel 7 (ClCN7) gene, which accounts for approximately 10% of cases. We report the clinical, radiographic, and histopathologic findings of the first human osteopetrosis case caused by a mutation in the grey-lethal (GL) gene. The patient, a 9-day-old male infant, presented with a very severe osteopetrotic phenotype including substantial hepatosplenomegaly since birth, cytopenia, and progressive major liver failure. Skeletal radiographs revealed a generalized increase in bone density with loss of corticomedullary differentiation. Histopathologic bone examination showed the typical osteopetrotic changes, with absence of resorptive activity, and osteoclasts, slightly decreased in number, with evident morphological alterations.
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 07/2004; 19(7):1194-9. DOI:10.1359/JBMR.040407 · 6.59 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following an ischemic insult, cardiac contractile recovery might be perturbed by the release of autacoids, like platelet-activating factor (PAF), that depress heart function by acting through G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The signaling events downstream the PAF receptor that lead to the negative inotropic effect are still obscure. We thus investigated whether the GPCR-activated phosphoisositide 3-kinase gamma (PI3Kgamma) could play a role in the cardiac response to PAF.
The negative inotropic effect of PAF was studied ex vivo, in isolated electrically driven atria and in Langendorff-perfused whole hearts derived from wild-type and PI3Kgamma-null mice. Postischemic recovery of contractility was analyzed in normal and mutant whole hearts subjected to 30 min of ischemia and 40 min of reperfusion in the presence or absence of a PAF receptor antagonist.
While wild-type hearts stimulated with PAF showed increased nitric oxide (NO) production and a consequent decreased cardiac contractility, PI3Kgamma-null hearts displayed reduced phosphorylation of nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3), blunted nitric oxide production and a complete protection from the PAF-induced negative inotropism. In addition, Langendorff-perfused PI3Kgamma-null hearts showed a better contractile recovery after ischemia/reperfusion, a condition where PAF is known to be an important player in depressing contractility. In agreement with a role of PI3Kgamma in this PAF-mediated signaling, postischemic contractile recovery in PI3Kgamma-null mice appeared overlapping with that of normal hearts treated with the PAF receptor antagonist WEB 2170.
These data indicate a novel PAF-dependent signaling pathway that, involving PI3Kgamma and NOS3, contributes to postischemic contractile depression.
Cardiovascular Research 12/2003; 60(2):242-9. · 5.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The small GTP-binding protein Rap1B is activated in human platelets upon stimulation of a G(i)-dependent signaling pathway. In this work, we found that inhibition of platelet adenylyl cyclase by dideoxyadenosine or SQ22536 did not cause activation of Rap1B and did not restore Rap1B activation in platelets stimulated by cross-linking of Fcgamma receptor IIA (FcgammaRIIA) in the presence of ADP scavengers. Moreover, elevation of the intracellular cAMP concentration did not impair the G(i)-dependent activation of Rap1B. Two unrelated inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), wortmannin and LY294002, totally prevented Rap1B activation in platelets stimulated by cross-linking of FcgammaRIIA, by stimulation of the P2Y(12) receptor for ADP, or by epinephrine. However, in platelets from PI3Kgamma-deficient mice, both ADP and epinephrine were still able to normally stimulate Rap1B activation through a PI3K-dependent mechanism, suggesting the involvement of a different isoform of the enzyme. Moreover, the lack of PI3Kgamma did not prevent the ability of epinephrine to potentiate platelet aggregation through a G(i)-dependent pathway. The inhibitory effect of wortmannin on Rap1B activation was overcome by addition of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)), but not PtdIns(3,4)P(2), although both lipids were found to support phosphorylation of Akt. Moreover, PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) was able to relieve the inhibitory effect of apyrase on FcgammaRIIA-mediated platelet aggregation. We conclude that stimulation of a G(i)-dependent signaling pathway causes activation of the small GTPase Rap1B through the action of the PI3K product PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3), but not PtdIns(3,4)P(2), and that this process may contribute to potentiation of platelet aggregation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dbl is the prototype of a large family of GDP-GTP exchange factors for small GTPases of the Rho family. In vitro, Dbl is known to activate Rho and Cdc42 and to induce a transformed phenotype. Dbl is specifically expressed in brain and gonads, but its in vivo functions are largely unknown. To assess its role in neurogenesis and gametogenesis, targeted deletion of the murine Dbl gene was accomplished in embryonic stem cells. Dbl-null mice are viable and did not show either decreased reproductive performances or obvious neurological defects. Histological analysis of mutant testis showed normal morphology and unaltered proliferation and survival of spermatogonia. Dbl-null brains indicated a correct disposition of the major neural structures. Analysis of cortical stratification indicated that Dbl is not crucial for neuronal migration. However, in distinct populations of Dbl-null cortical pyramidal neurons, the length of dendrites was significantly reduced, suggesting a role for Dbl in dendrite elongation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell matrix adhesion is required for cell proliferation and survival. Here we report that mutation by gene targeting of the cytoplasmic tail of beta1 integrin leads to defective proliferation and survival both in vivo and in vitro. Primary murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from mutant homozygotes display defective cell cycle coupled to impaired activation of the FAK-PI3K-Akt and Rac-JNK signaling pathways. Expression in homozygous MEFs of a constitutively active form of Rac is able to rescue proliferation, survival, and JNK activation. Moreover, although showing normal Erk phosphorylation, mutant cells fail to display Erk nuclear translocation upon fibronectin adhesion. However, expression of the constitutively activated form of Rac restores Erk nuclear localization, suggesting that adhesion-dependent Rac activation is necessary to integrate signals directed to promote MAPK activity. Altogether, our data provide the evidence for an epistatic interaction between the beta1 integrin cytoplasmic domain and Rac, and indicate that this anchorage-dependent signaling pathway is crucial for cell growth control.
The Journal of Cell Biology 05/2002; 157(3):481-92. DOI:10.1083/jcb.200111065 · 9.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been proposed that integrins activate ERK through the adaptor protein Shc independently of focal adhesion kinase (FAK)
or through FAK acting on multiple target effectors, including Shc. We show that disruption of the actin cytoskeleton by cytochalasin
D causes a complete inhibition of FAK but does not inhibit Shc signaling and activation of ERK. We have then generated primary
fibroblasts carrying a targeted deletion of the segment of β1 subunit cytoplasmic domain required for activation of FAK. Analysis of these cells indicates that FAK is not necessary for
efficient tyrosine phosphorylation of Shc, association of Shc with Grb2, and activation of ERK in response to matrix adhesion.
In addition, integrin-mediated activation of FAK does not appear to be required for signaling to ERK following growth factor
stimulation. To examine if FAK could contribute to the activation of ERK in a cell type-specific manner through the Rap1/B-Raf
pathway, we have used Swiss-3T3 cells, which in contrast to primary fibroblasts express B-Raf. Dominant negative studies indicate
that Shc mediates the early phase and peak, whereas FAK, p130CAS, Crk, and Rap1 contribute to the late phase of integrin-dependent activation of ERK in these cells. In addition, introduction
of B-Raf enhances and sustains integrin-mediated activation of ERK in wild-type primary fibroblasts but not in those carrying
the targeted deletion of the β1 cytoplasmic domain. Thus, the Shc and FAK pathways are activated independently and function in a parallel fashion. Although
not necessary for signaling to ERK in primary fibroblasts, FAK may enhance and prolong integrin-mediated activation of ERK
through p130CAS, Crk, and Rap1 in cells expressing B-Raf.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Integrins are a large family of membrane receptors, consisting of alpha and beta subunits, that play a pivotal role in the interaction of cells with the extracellular matrix. Such interaction regulates the organization of cells in organs and tissues during development as well as cell differentiation and proliferation. We have shown that unfertilized oocytes express integrins that might be important during fertilization. We also analyzed nervous system and muscle tissue development showing that integrin expression is precisely regulated during organization of these tissues. The results indicate that two distinct integrin alpha subunits mediate the outgrowth of processes in nerve and glial cells. Alpha1 integrin, a laminin receptor, is up-regulated by nerve growth factor and other differentiation stimuli and is involved in neurite extension by nerve cells. In contrast, process extension by glial cells is likely to involve the alphaV integrin. Moreover, the latter integrin subunit is also transiently expressed in muscle of the embryo body where it localizes predominantly at developing myotendinous junctions. After birth this integrin disappears and is substituted by the alpha7 subunit. At the same time, important changes also occur in the expression of the associated beta subunit. In fact, the beta1A isoform which is expressed in fetal muscles, is substituted by beta1D. These isoforms are generated by alternative splicing and differ in only a few amino acid residues at the COOH terminus of the protein. This region of the molecule is exposed at the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane and is connected to the actin filaments. Our results show that beta1D, which is expressed only in striated muscle tissues, binds to both cytoskeletal and extracellular matrix proteins with an affinity higher than beta1A. Thus, beta1D provides a stronger link between the cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix necessary to support mechanical tension during muscle contraction. These results indicate that cells can regulate their interactions with the extracellular matrix by changing their expression of alpha integrin subunits and thus ligand specificity, or by more subtle changes involving alternative usage of different cytoplasmic domains. The important role of both alpha and beta integrin subunit cytoplasmic domains during development is further illustrated by the analysis of targeted mutations which we have generated by homologous recombination in mice.
The International Journal of Developmental Biology 02/2000; 44(6):725-31. · 2.57 Impact Factor