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Cell. 2004 May 28;117(5):649-62.

RNA and RNA binding proteins participate in early stages of cell spreading through spreading initiation centers.

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Center for Experimental BioInformatics (CEBI), Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark.


Focal adhesions are specialized attachment and signaling centers that form at sites of cell-matrix contacts. We employed a quantitative mass spectrometry-based method called SILAC to identify and quantify proteins interacting in an attachment-dependent manner with focal adhesion proteins. Subsequent confocal microscopy revealed a previously undescribed structure, which we have termed a spreading initiation center (SIC), existing only in early stages of cell spreading. SICs contain focal adhesion markers, appear to be surrounded by an actin sheath, and, surprisingly, contain numerous RNA binding proteins, ribosomal RNA, and perhaps other RNAs. Interfering with the function of FUS/TLS, hnRNP K, and hnRNP E1 results in increased spreading. Spreading initiation centers are ribonucleoprotein complexes distinct from focal adhesions and demonstrate a role for RNA and RNA binding proteins in the initiation of cell spreading.

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