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Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Nov;33(21):4334-45. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00580-13. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

The membrane-proximal KXGFFKR motif of α-integrin mediates chemoresistance.

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Departments of Pediatrics.


Cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance contributes to minimal residual disease and relapse in hematological malignancies. Here, we show that adhesion of Jurkat T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells to substrates engaging α4β1-integrin or α5β1-integrin promotes chemoresistance to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Reconstituted expression of α4δ, a truncated α4-integrin with KXGFFKR as the cytoplasmic motif, in α4-deficient cells promoted chemoresistance to doxorubicin in a manner independent of α4-mediated adhesion. The adhesion-independent chemoresistance did not require β1-integrin as the heterodimeric pair, since expression of Tacδ, a monomeric nonintegrin transmembrane protein fused to the juxtamembrane KXGFFKR, was sufficient to reproduce the phenomenon. The requirement for integrin-mediated adhesion in stimulation of Akt phosphorylation and activation was bypassed for cells expressing α4δ and Tacδ. Cells expressing α4δ and Tacδ exhibited a high influx of extracellular Ca(2+), and inhibition of Ca(2+) channels with verapamil attenuated the adhesion-independent chemoresistance. Tacδ cells also exhibited greater rates of drug efflux. α4δ and Tacδ interacted with the Ca(2+)-binding protein calreticulin, in a manner dependent on the KXGFFKR motif. Adhesion-mediated engagement of α4-integrins promoted an increased calreticulin-α4 association and greater influx of extracellular Ca(2+) than in nonadherent cells. The α-integrin KXGFFKR motif is involved in adhesion-mediated control of chemoresistance in T cells.

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