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J Biol Chem. 2010 Apr 30;285(18):13569-79. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.102137. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

Interaction of syndecan and alpha6beta4 integrin cytoplasmic domains: regulation of ErbB2-mediated integrin activation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, USA.


The alpha6beta4 integrin is a laminin 332 (LN332) receptor central to the formation of hemidesmosomes in epithelial layers. However, the integrin becomes phosphorylated by keratinocytes responding to epidermal growth factor in skin wounds or by squamous cell carcinomas that overexpress/hyperactivate the tyrosine kinase ErbB2, epidermal growth factor receptor, or c-Met. We show here that the beta4-dependent signaling in A431 human squamous carcinoma cells is dependent on the syndecan family of matrix receptors. Yeast two-hybrid analysis identifies an interaction within the distal third (amino acids 1473-1752) of the beta4 cytoplasmic domain and the conserved C2 region of the syndecan cytoplasmic domain. Via its C2 region, Sdc1 forms a complex with the alpha6beta4 integrin along with the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB2 and the cytoplasmic kinase Fyn in A431 cells. Engagement of LN332 or clustering of the alpha6beta4 integrin with integrin-specific antibodies causes phosphorylation of ErbB2, Fyn, and the beta4 subunit as well as activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and Akt and their assimilation into this complex. This leads to phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent cell spreading and Akt-dependent protection from apoptosis. This is disrupted by RNA interference silencing of Sdc1 but can be rescued by mouse Sdc1 or Sdc4 but not by syndecan mutants lacking their C-terminal C2 region. This disruption does not prevent the phosphorylation of ErbB2 or Fyn but blocks the Fyn-mediated phosphorylation of the beta4 tail. We propose that syndecans engage the distal region of the beta4 cytoplasmic domain and bring it to the plasma membrane, where it can be acted upon by Src family kinases.

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