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J Biol Chem. 2004 Mar 26;279(13):12009-19. Epub 2003 Dec 29.

The Rap GTPases regulate integrin-mediated adhesion, cell spreading, actin polymerization, and Pyk2 tyrosine phosphorylation in B lymphocytes.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, 6174 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada.


Integrin-mediated adhesion plays an important role in B cell development and activation. Signaling initiated by antigens, chemokines, or phorbol esters can rapidly convert integrins to an activated adhesion-competent state. The binding of integrins to their ligands can then induce actin-dependent cell spreading, which can facilitate cell-cell adhesion or cell migration on extracellular matrices. The signaling pathways involved in integrin activation and post-adhesion events in B cells are not completely understood. We have previously shown that anti-Ig antibodies, the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1; CXCL12), and phorbol esters activate the Rap1 and Rap2 GTPases in B cells and that Rap activation is essential for SDF-1-induced B cell migration (McLeod, S. J., Li, A. H. Y., Lee, R. L., Burgess, A. E., and Gold, M. R. (2002) J. Immunol. 169, 1365-1371; Christian, S. L., Lee, R. L., McLeod, S. J., Burgess, A. E., Li, A. H. Y., Dang-Lawson, M., Lin, K. B. L., and Gold, M. R. (2003) J. Biol. Chem. 278, 41756-41767). We show here that preventing Rap activation by expressing Rap-specific GTPase-activating protein II (RapGAPII) significantly decreased lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1- and alpha(4) integrin-dependent binding of murine B cell lines to purified adhesion molecules and to other cells. Conversely, augmenting Rap activation by expressing a constitutively active form of Rap2 enhanced B cell adhesion, showing for the first time that Rap2 can promote integrin activation. We also show that blocking Rap activation inhibited anti-Ig-induced cell spreading and phorbol ester-induced actin polymerization as well as anti-Ig- and SDF-1-induced phosphorylation of Pyk2, a tyrosine kinase involved in morphological changes and chemokine-induced B cell migration. Thus, the Rap GTPases regulate integrin-mediated B cell adhesion as well as processes that control B cell morphology and migration.

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