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J Cell Biol. 2002 Dec 9;159(5):881-91. Epub 2002 Dec 9.

Recruitment of the Arp2/3 complex to vinculin: coupling membrane protrusion to matrix adhesion.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Cell migration involves many steps, including membrane protrusion and the development of new adhesions. Here we have investigated whether there is a link between actin polymerization and integrin engagement. In response to signals that trigger membrane protrusion, the actin-related protein (Arp)2/3 complex transiently binds to vinculin, an integrin-associated protein. The interaction is regulated, requiring phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate and Rac1 activation, and is sufficient to recruit the Arp2/3 complex to new sites of integrin aggregation. Binding of the Arp2/3 complex to vinculin is direct and does not depend on the ability of vinculin to associate with actin. We have mapped the binding site for the Arp2/3 complex to the hinge region of vinculin, and a point mutation in this region selectively blocks binding to the Arp2/3 complex. Compared with WT vinculin, expression of this mutant in vinculin-null cells results in diminished lamellipodial protrusion and spreading on fibronectin. The recruitment of the Arp2/3 complex to vinculin may be one mechanism through which actin polymerization and membrane protrusion are coupled to integrin-mediated adhesion.

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