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FASEB J. 2006 Jul;20(9):1489-91. Epub 2006 May 24.

Regulation of cell-matrix adhesion dynamics and Rac-1 by integrin linked kinase.

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  • 1Institute of Signaling, Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, CNRS-UMR6543, Centre Antoine Lacassagne, 33 Ave. de Valombrose, Nice 06189, France.


Extracellular matrix (ECM) receptors of the integrin family initiate changes in cell shape and motility by recruiting signaling components that coordinate these events. Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is one such partner of beta1 integrins that participates in dynamic rearrangement of cell-matrix adhesions and cell spreading by mechanisms that are not well understood. To further elucidate the role of ILK in these events, we engineered a chimeric molecule comprising ILK fused to a membrane-targeted green fluorescent protein (ILK-GFP-F). ILK-GFP-F is highly enriched in cell-matrix adhesions, and its expression in fibroblasts leads to an accumulation of focal adhesions (2-5 microm) and elongated adhesions (>5 microm). ILK-GFP-F enhances cell spreading on fibronectin and induces a constitutive increase in the levels of GTP-bound Rac-1. Conversely, ILK knock-down by siRNA transfection decreases active Rac-1. Endogenous ILK was found to associate with PKL (paxillin kinase linker) and the Rac/Cdc42 guanine nucleotide exchange factor betaPIX. Further, expression of a dominant negative betaPIX mutant reversed the increase in active Rac-1 levels of ILK-GFP-F-expressing cells, thus placing betaPIX in the pathway leading from ILK to Rac-1 activation. However, expression of constitutively active Rac only partially restores the spreading defects of ILK-depleted cells, suggesting that an additional ILK-dependent signal is required for cell spreading.

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