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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2013 Jun;45(6):1051-63. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2013.02.015. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

The carboxyl tail of alpha-actinin-4 regulates its susceptibility to m-calpain and thus functions in cell migration and spreading.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, United States.


Alpha-actinin-4 links the cytoskeleton to sites of adhesion and has been shown to be modulated to enable cell migration. Such focal adhesions must be labile to accomplish migration, with this detachment occurring at least in part via m-calpain activation (Glading et al., 2001, 2002; Xie et al., 1998). In this study, we report that alpha-actinin-4 is initially cleaved by m-calpain between tyrosine 13 and glycine. Removal of the first 13 amino acids does not affect alpha-actinin-4 binding to actin filaments and its localization within fibroblasts but drives cell migration with less persistence. Binding of phosphoinositides PI(4,5)P2, PI(3,4,5)P3 and PI(3,4)P2 to alpha-actinin-4, as well as binding of alpha-actinin-4 to actin filaments all inhibit m-calpain cleavage of ACTN4 between tyrosine 13 and glycine 14. Interestingly, the carboxyl terminus of alpha-actinin-4 including its calcium binding motifs, is inhibitory for a secondary cleavage of alpha-actinin-4 between lysine 283 and valine 284. The minimal length of inhibitory domain is mapped to the last 11 amino acids of alpha-actinin-4. The C-terminal tail of alpha-actinin-4 is essential for maintaining its normal actin binding activity and localization within cytoplasm and also its colocalization with actin in the lamellipodia of locomoting fibroblasts. Live cell imaging reveals that the 1-890 fragment fails to rescue neither the basal or growth factor-stimulated migration nor the revert the spread area of fibroblasts to the level of NR6WT. These findings suggest that the C-terminal tail of alpha-actinin-4 is essential for its function in cell migration and adhesion to substratum.

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