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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Nov;19(11):4930-41. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E08-06-0564. Epub 2008 Sep 10.

Integrin-mediated protein kinase A activation at the leading edge of migrating cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0726, USA.


cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) is important in processes requiring localized cell protrusion, such as cell migration and axonal path finding. Here, we used a membrane-targeted PKA biosensor to reveal activation of PKA at the leading edge of migrating cells. Previous studies show that PKA activity promotes protrusion and efficient cell migration. In live migrating cells, membrane-associated PKA activity was highest at the leading edge and required ligation of integrins such as alpha4beta1 or alpha5beta1 and an intact actin cytoskeleton. alpha4 integrins are type I PKA-specific A-kinase anchoring proteins, and we now find that type I PKA is important for localization of alpha4beta1 integrin-mediated PKA activation at the leading edge. Accumulation of 3' phosphorylated phosphoinositides [PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)] products of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) is an early event in establishing the directionality of migration; however, polarized PKA activation did not require PI3-kinase activity. Conversely, inhibition of PKA blocked accumulation of a PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)-binding protein, the AKT-pleckstrin homology (PH) domain, at the leading edge; hence, PKA is involved in maintaining cell polarity during migration. In sum, we have visualized compartment-specific PKA activation in migrating cells and used it to reveal that adhesion-mediated localized activation of PKA is an early step in directional cell migration.

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