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Mol Biol Cell. 1994 Sep;5(9):977-88.

Integrin alpha 2 cytoplasmic domain deletion effects: loss of adhesive activity parallels ligand-independent recruitment into focal adhesions.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with the integrin alpha 2 subunit formed a stable VLA-2 heterodimer that mediated cell adhesion to collagen. Within CHO cells spread on collagen, but not fibronectin, wild-type alpha 2 subunit localized into focal adhesion complexes (FACs). In contrast, alpha 2 with a deleted cytoplasmic domain was recruited into FACs whether CHO cells were spread on collagen or fibronectin. Thus, as previously seen for other integrins, the alpha 2 cytoplasmic domain acts as a negative regulator, preventing indiscriminate integrin recruitment into FACs. Notably, ligand-independent localization of the VLA-2 alpha 2 subunit into FACs was partially prevented if only one or two amino acids were present in the alpha 2 cytoplasmic domain (beyond the conserved GFFKR motif) and was completely prevented by four to seven amino acids. The addition of two alanine residues (added to GFFKR) also partially prevented ligand-independent localization. In a striking inverse correlation, the same mutants showing increased ligand-independent recruitment into FACs exhibited diminished alpha 2-dependent adhesion to collagen. Thus, control of VLA-2 localization may be closely related to the suppression of cell adhesion to collagen. In contrast to FAC localization and collagen adhesion results, VLA-2-dependent binding and infection by echovirus were unaffected by either alpha 2 cytoplasmic domain deletion or exchange with other cytoplasmic domains.

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