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Front Physiol. 2013 Oct 1;4:271. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00271. eCollection 2013.

The effect of carbonic anhydrase IX on focal contacts during cell spreading and migration.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Institute of Virology, Slovak Academy of Sciences Bratislava, Slovakia ; Centre for Molecular Medicine, Slovak Academy of Sciences Bratislava, Slovakia.


Carbonic anhydrase IX is a hypoxia-induced transmembrane enzyme linked with solid tumors. It catalyzes the reversible hydration of CO2 providing bicarbonate ions for intracellular neutralization and protons for extracellular acidosis, thereby supporting tumor cell survival and invasiveness. CA IX is the only human CA isoform containing the proteoglycan (PG) domain in its extracellular part. The PG domain appears to enhance the catalytic activity of CA IX and mediate its binding to the extracellular matrix. Moreover, manipulation of the CA IX level by siRNA or overexpression modulates cell adhesion pathway so that in the presence of CA IX, cells display an increased rate of adhesion and spreading. Here we show that deletion of the PG domain as well as treatment with the PG-binding monoclonal antibody M75 can impair this CA IX effect. Accordingly, CA IX-expressing cells show more prominent and elongated maturing paxillin-stained focal contacts (FC) than CA IX-negative controls, proving the role of CA IX in cell spreading. However, during active cell movement, CA IX is relocalized to lamellipodia and improves migration via its catalytic domain. Thus, we examined the influence of CA IX on FC turnover in these structures. While the lamellipodial regions lacking CA IX display dash-like adhesions, the CA IX-enriched neighboring regions exhibit dynamic dot-like FCs. These results suggest that CA IX can promote initial adhesion through its PG domain, but at the same time it facilitates formation of nascent adhesions at the leading edge of moving cells. Thereby it may allow for transmission of large forces and enhanced migration rate, presumably through catalytic activity and impact of pHe on FC dynamics. Thus, we provide the first evidence that CA IX protein localizes directly in focal adhesion (FA) structures and propose its functional relationship with the proteins involved in the regulation of FC turnover and maturation.


ROCK1; carbonic anhydrase IX; cell spreading; focal adhesion; migration; paxillin

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