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J Biol Chem. 2003 Dec 19;278(51):51324-33. Epub 2003 Oct 8.

PINCH-1 is an obligate partner of integrin-linked kinase (ILK) functioning in cell shape modulation, motility, and survival.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


PINCH-1 is a widely expressed focal adhesion protein that forms a ternary complex with integrin-linked kinase (ILK) and CH-ILKBP/actopaxin/alpha-parvin (abbreviated as alpha-parvin herein). We have used RNA interference, a powerful approach of reverse genetics, to investigate the functions of PINCH-1 and ILK in human cells. We report here the following. First, PINCH-1 and ILK, but not alpha-parvin, are essential for prompt cell spreading and motility. Second, PINCH-1 and ILK, like alpha-parvin, are crucial for cell survival. Third, PINCH-1 and ILK are required for optimal activating phosphorylation of PKB/Akt, an important signaling intermediate of the survival pathway. Whereas depletion of ILK reduced Ser473 phosphorylation but not Thr308 phosphorylation of PKB/Akt, depletion of PINCH-1 reduced both the Ser473 and Thr308 phosphorylation of PKB/Akt. Fourth, PINCH-1 and ILK function in the survival pathway not only upstream but also downstream (or in parallel) of protein kinase B (PKB)/Akt. Fifth, PINCH-1, ILK and to a less extent alpha-parvin are mutually dependent in maintenance of their protein, but not mRNA, levels. The coordinated down-regulation of PINCH-1, ILK, and alpha-parvin proteins is mediated at least in part by proteasomes. Finally, increased expression of PINCH-2, an ILK-binding protein that is structurally related to PINCH-1, prevented the down-regulation of ILK and alpha-parvin induced by the loss of PINCH-1 but failed to restore the survival signaling or cell shape modulation. These results provide new insights into the functions of PINCH proteins in regulation of ILK and alpha-parvin and control of cell behavior.

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