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J Biol Chem. 2017 Jul 21;292(29):12178-12191. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.780304. Epub 2017 Jun 9.

Cell adhesion controlled by adhesion G protein-coupled receptor GPR124/ADGRA2 is mediated by a protein complex comprising intersectins and Elmo-Dock.

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From the Departments of Pharmacology and.
Cell Biology, Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV-IPN), Mexico City 14740, Mexico and.
the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal and.
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1J4, Canada.
From the Departments of Pharmacology and


Developmental angiogenesis and the maintenance of the blood-brain barrier involve endothelial cell adhesion, which is linked to cytoskeletal dynamics. GPR124 (also known as TEM5/ADGRA2) is an adhesion G protein-coupled receptor family member that plays a pivotal role in brain angiogenesis and in ensuring a tight blood-brain barrier. However, the signaling properties of GPR124 remain poorly defined. Here, we show that ectopic expression of GPR124 promotes cell adhesion, additive to extracellular matrix-dependent effect, coupled with filopodia and lamellipodia formation and an enrichment of a pool of the G protein-coupled receptor at actin-rich cellular protrusions containing VASP, a filopodial marker. Accordingly, GPR124-expressing cells also displayed increased activation of both Rac and Cdc42 GTPases. Mechanistically, we uncover novel direct interactions between endogenous GPR124 and the Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors Elmo/Dock and intersectin (ITSN). Small fragments of either Elmo or ITSN1 that bind GPR124 blocked GPR124-induced cell adhesion. In addition, Gβγ interacts with the C-terminal tail of GPR124 and promotes the formation of a GPR124-Elmo complex. Furthermore, GPR124 also promotes the activation of the Elmo-Dock complex, as measured by Elmo phosphorylation on a conserved C-terminal tyrosine residue. Interestingly, Elmo and ITSN1 also interact with each other independently of their GPR124-recognition regions. Moreover, endogenous phospho-Elmo and ITSN1 co-localize with GPR124 at lamellipodia of adhering endothelial cells, where GPR124 expression contributes to polarity acquisition during wound healing. Collectively, our results indicate that GPR124 promotes cell adhesion via Elmo-Dock and ITSN. This constitutes a previously unrecognized complex formed of atypical and conventional Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Rac and Cdc42 that is putatively involved in GPR124-dependent angiogenic responses.


G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); adhesion; cell signaling; guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF); signal transduction

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