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Development. 2003 Jun;130(12):2611-21.

Analysis of PINCH function in Drosophila demonstrates its requirement in integrin-dependent cellular processes.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.


Integrins play a crucial role in cell motility, cell proliferation and cell survival. The evolutionarily conserved LIM protein PINCH is postulated to act as part of an integrin-dependent signaling complex. In order to evaluate the role of PINCH in integrin-mediated cellular events, we have tested directly the in vivo function of PINCH in Drosophila melanogaster. We demonstrate that the steamer duck (stck) alleles that were first identified in a screen for potential integrin effectors represent mutations in Drosophila pinch. stck mutants die during embryogenesis, revealing a key role for PINCH in development. Muscle cells within embryos that have compromised PINCH function display disturbed actin organization and cell-substratum adhesion. Mutation of stck also causes failure of integrin-dependent epithelial cell adhesion in the wing. Consistent with the idea that PINCH could contribute to integrin function, PINCH protein colocalizes with betaPS integrin at sites of actin filament anchorage in both muscle and wing epithelial cells. Furthermore, we show that integrins are required for proper localization of PINCH at the myotendinous junction. The integrin-linked kinase, ILK, is also essential for integrin function. We demonstrate that Drosophila PINCH and ILK are complexed in vivo and are coincident at the integrin-rich muscle-attachment sites in embryonic muscle. Interestingly, ILK localizes appropriately in stck mutant embryos, therefore the phenotypes exhibited by the stck mutants are not attributable to mislocalization of ILK. Our results provide direct genetic evidence that PINCH is essential for Drosophila development and is required for integrin-dependent cell adhesion.

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