Although critical for development, immunity, wound healing, and metastasis, integrins represent one of the few classes of plasma membrane receptors for which the basic signaling mechanism remains a mystery. We investigated cytoplasmic conformational changes in the integrin LFA-1 (alphaLbeta2) in living cells by measuring fluorescence resonance energy transfer between cyan fluorescent protein-fused and yellow fluorescent protein-fused alphaL and beta2 cytoplasmic domains. In the resting state these domains were close to each other, but underwent significant spatial separation upon either intracellular activation of integrin adhesiveness (inside-out signaling) or ligand binding (outside-in signaling). Thus, bidirectional integrin signaling is accomplished by coupling extracellular conformational changes to an unclasping and separation of the alpha and beta cytoplasmic domains, a distinctive mechanism for transmitting information across the plasma membrane.
Integrin alpha(4)beta(7) mediates rolling adhesion in Ca(2+) and Ca(2+) + Mg(2+), and firm adhesion in Mg(2+) and Mn(2+), mimicking the two key steps in leukocyte accumulation in inflamed vasculature. We mutated an interlinked linear array of three divalent cation-binding sites present in integrin beta-subunit I-like domains. The middle, metal ion-dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) is required for both rolling and firm adhesion. One polar site, that adjacent to MIDAS (ADMIDAS), is required for rolling because its mutation results in firm adhesion. The other polar site, the ligand-induced metal binding site (LIMBS), is required for firm adhesion because its mutation results in rolling. The LIMBS mediates the positive regulatory effects of low Ca(2+) concentrations, whereas the ADMIDAS mediates the negative regulatory effects of higher Ca(2+) concentrations, which are competed by Mn(2+). The bipolar sites thus stabilize two alternative phases of adhesion.
Basement membranes are fundamental to tissue organization and physiology in all metazoans. The interaction between laminin and nidogen is crucial to the assembly of basement membranes. The structure of the interacting domains reveals a six-bladed Tyr-Trp-Thr-Asp (YWTD) beta-propeller domain in nidogen bound to laminin epidermal-growth-factor-like (LE) modules III3-5 in laminin (LE3-5). Laminin LE module 4 binds to an amphitheatre-shaped surface on the pseudo-6-fold axis of the beta-propeller, and LE module 3 binds over its rim. A Phe residue that shutters the water-filled central aperture of the beta-propeller, the rigidity of the amphitheatre, and high shape complementarity enable the construction of an evolutionarily conserved binding surface for LE4 of unprecedentedly high affinity for its small size. Hypermorphic mutations in the Wnt co-receptor LRP5 (refs 6-9) suggest that a similar YWTD beta-propeller interface is used to bind ligands that function in developmental pathways. A related interface, but shifted off-centre from the pseudo-6-fold axis and lacking the shutter over the central aperture, is used in the low-density lipoprotein receptor for an intramolecular interaction that is regulated by pH in receptor recycling.
Rap1 is a potent inside-out signal that increases LFA-1 adhesive activity. In this study, we have defined the cytoplasmic region of the alphaL and beta2 integrin that are required for Rap1-stimulated adhesion and subsequent migration on ICAM-1. Human LFA-1 bearing truncated and point-mutated alphaL and beta2 cytoplasmic regions were reconstituted in mouse IL-3-dependent proB cells, BAF/3. Truncation of the alphaL, but not beta2 subunit cytoplasmic region, abolished Rap1V12-dependent adhesion to ICAM-1. The alanine substitution of two lysine residues (K1097/K1099) in the alphaL subunit was found to be critical in adhesion induced by Rap1V12, but not PMA. This mutation suppressed Rap1V12-induced LFA-1 conformation changes and ligand-binding affinity. The K1097/K1099 mutation also impaired binding to ICAM-1 induced by TCR cross-linking or SDF-1. In contrast, the alanine substitution for tyrosine in the beta2 subunit endocytosis motif inhibited internalization of LFA-1, and severely impaired detachment at the cell rear, which resulted in long-elongated cell shapes. This result demonstrates that internalization of LFA-1 is a critical step in the deadhesion process. Our study revealed novel requirements of amino acid residues of the LFA-1 cytoplasmic region in the response to the inside-out signaling and the subsequent deadhesion process.
Specific leukocyte/endothelial interactions are critical for immunity and inflammation, yet the molecular details of this interaction interface remain poorly understood. Thus, we investigated, with confocal microscopy, the distribution dynamics of the central adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and LFA-1 in this context. Monolayers of activated HUVECs stained with fluorescent anti-ICAM-1 Fabs or Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells expressing ICAM-1-green fluorescent protein were allowed to bind LFA-1-bearing monocytes, neutrophils, or K562 LFA-1 transfectants. ICAM-1 was rapidly relocalized to newly formed microvilli-like membrane projections in response to binding LFA-1 on leukocytes. These ICAM-1-enriched projections encircled the leukocytes extending up their sides and clustered LFA-1 underneath into linear tracks. Projections formed independently of VCAM-1/very late Ag 4 interactions, shear, and proactive contributions from the LFA-1-bearing cells. In the ICAM-1-bearing endothelial cells, projections were enriched in actin but not microtubules, required intracellular calcium, and intact microfilament and microtubule cytoskeletons and were independent of Rho/Rho kinase signaling. Disruption of these projections with cytochalasin D, colchicine, or BAPTA-AM had no affect on firm adhesion. These data show that in response to LFA-1 engagement the endothelium proactively forms an ICAM-1-enriched cup-like structure that surrounds adherent leukocytes but is not important for firm adhesion. This finding leaves open a possible role in leukocyte transendothelial migration, which would be consistent with the geometry and kinetics of formation of the cup-like structure.
Conformational change in the integrin extracellular domain is required for high affinity ligand binding and is also involved in post-ligand binding cellular signaling. Although there is evidence to the contrary, electron microscopic studies showing that ligand binding triggers alpha- and beta-subunit dissociation in the integrin headpiece have gained popularity and support the hypothesis that head separation activates integrins. To test directly the head separation hypothesis, we enforced head association by introducing disulfide bonds across the interface between the alpha-subunit beta-propeller domain and the beta-subunit I-like domain. Basal and activation-dependent ligand binding by alpha(IIb)beta(3) and alpha(V)beta(3) was unaffected. The covalent linkage prevented dissociation of alpha(IIb)beta(3) into its subunits on EDTA-treated cells. Whereas EDTA dissociated wild type alpha(IIb)beta(3) on the cell surface, a ligand-mimetic Arg-Gly-Asp peptide did not, as judged by binding of complex-specific antibodies. Finally, a high affinity ligand-mimetic compound stabilized noncovalent association between alpha(IIb) and beta(3) headpiece fragments in the presence of SDS, indicating that ligand binding actually stabilized subunit association at the head, as opposed to the suggested subunit separation. The mechanisms of conformational regulation of integrin function should therefore be considered in the context of the associated alphabeta headpiece.
Integrins play critical roles in development, wound healing, immunity and cancer. Central to their function is their unique ability to modulate dynamically their adhesiveness through both affinity- and valency-based mechanisms. Recent advances have shed light on the structural basis for affinity regulation and on the signaling mechanisms responsible for both affinity and valency modes of regulation.
The integrin LFA-1 interacts with a variety of ligands termed ICAMs. ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 are both expressed on endothelium and serve as counterreceptors during lymphocyte trafficking. In this study, we analyzed their relative contribution to lymphocyte recirculation through lymph nodes and to recruitment into lung and inflamed skin by blocking mAbs against ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 and mice deficient for ICAM-1. The entry of lymphocytes into peripheral and mesenteric lymph nodes was found to be unaffected by the functional deletion of either ICAM-1 or ICAM-2. However, when both pathways were blocked, recirculation through lymph nodes was strongly reduced. Trapping of lymphocytes in the lung after i.v. injection is partly mediated by LFA-1/ICAM interactions; the data presented in this study show an exclusive role of ICAM-1 in LFA-1-dependent lung trapping. Similarly, ICAM-1, but not ICAM-2, was required for the migration of T effector cells into the inflamed skin. These results indicate that ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 have redundant functions in lymphocyte recirculation through lymph nodes, but ICAM-1 is unique in supporting migration into inflamed sites and trapping within the lung.
Leukocyte integrins contain an inserted (I) domain in their alpha subunits and an I-like domain in their beta(2) subunit, which directly bind ligand and regulate ligand binding, respectively. We describe a novel mechanistic class of integrin inhibitors that bind to the metal ion-dependent adhesion site of the beta(2) I-like domain and prevent its interaction with and activation of the alpha(L) I domain. The inhibitors do not bind to the alpha(L) I domain but stabilize alpha/beta subunit association and can show selectivity for alpha(L)beta(2) compared to alpha(M)beta(2). The inhibitors reveal a crucial intersection for relaying conformational signals within integrin extracellular domains. While blocking signals in one direction to the I domain, the antagonists induce the active conformation of the I-like domain and stalk domains, and thus transmit conformational signals in the other direction toward the transmembrane domains.
The affinity of the extracellular domain of integrins for ligand is regulated by conformational changes signaled from the cytoplasm. Alternative types of conformational movement in the ligand-binding headpiece have been proposed. In one study, electron micrograph image averages of the headpiece of integrin aV beta 3 show two different conformations. The open conformation of the headpiece is present when a ligand mimetic peptide is bound and differs from the closed conformation in the presence of an obtuse angle between the beta 3 subunit hybrid and I-like domains. We tested the hypothesis that opening of the hybrid-I-like domain interface increases ligand-binding affinity by mutationally introducing an N-glycosylation site into it. Both beta 3 and beta1 integrin glycan wedge mutants exhibit constitutively high affinity for physiological ligands. The data uniquely support one model of integrin activation and suggest that movement at the interface with the hybrid domain pulls down the C-terminal helix of the I-like domain and activates its metal ion-dependent adhesion site, analogously to activation of the integrin I domain.
The integrin alpha X beta 2 (CD11c/CD18, p150,95) binds ligands through the I domain of the alpha X subunit. Ligands include the complement factor fragment iC3b, a key component in the innate immune defense, which, together with the expression of alpha X beta 2 on dendritic cells and on other leukocytes, suggests a role in the immune response. We now report the structure of the alpha X I domain resolved at 1.65 A by x-ray crystallography. To analyze structural requirements for ligand binding we made a mutation in the alpha X I domain C-terminal helix, which increased the affinity for iC3b approximately 200-fold to 2.4 microM compared with the wild-type domain affinity of approximately 400 microM. Gel permeation chromatography supported a conformational change between the wild-type and mutated domains. Conservation of allosteric regulation in the alpha X I domain points to the functional importance of this phenomenon.
The membrane-distal headpiece of integrins has evolved to specifically bind large extracellular protein ligands, but the molecular architecture of the resulting complexes has not been determined. We used molecular electron microscopy to determine the three-dimensional structure of the ligand-binding headpiece of integrin alpha5beta1 complexed with fragments of its physiological ligand fibronectin. The density map for the unliganded alpha5beta1 headpiece shows a 'closed' conformation similar to that seen in the alphaVbeta3 crystal structure. By contrast, binding to fibronectin induces an 'open' conformation with a dramatic, approximately 80 degrees change in the angle of the hybrid domain of the beta subunit relative to its I-like domain. The fibronectin fragment binds to the interface between the beta-propeller and I-like domains in the integrin headpiece through the RGD-containing module 10, but direct contact of the synergy-region-containing module 9 to integrin is not evident. This finding is corroborated by kinetic analysis of real-time binding data, which shows that the synergy site greatly enhances k(on) but has little effect on the stability or k(off) of the complex.
The structure of the I domain of integrin alpha L beta 2 bound to the Ig superfamily ligand ICAM-1 reveals the open ligand binding conformation and the first example of an integrin-IgSF interface. The I domain Mg2+ directly coordinates Glu-34 of ICAM-1, and a dramatic swing of I domain residue Glu-241 enables a critical salt bridge. Liganded and unliganded structures for both high- and intermediate-affinity mutant I domains reveal that ligand binding can induce conformational change in the alpha L I domain and that allosteric signals can convert the closed conformation to intermediate or open conformations without ligand binding. Pulling down on the C-terminal alpha 7 helix with introduced disulfide bonds ratchets the beta 6-alpha 7 loop into three different positions in the closed, intermediate, and open conformations, with a progressive increase in affinity.
Integrins are a structurally elaborate family of adhesion molecules that transmit signals bi-directionally across the plasma membrane by undergoing large-scale structural rearrangements. By regulating cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts, integrins participate in a wide range of biological processes, including development, tissue repair, angiogenesis, inflammation and haemostasis. From a therapeutic standpoint, integrins are probably the most important class of cell-adhesion receptors. Recent progress in the development of integrin antagonists has resulted in their clinical application and has shed new light on integrin biology. On the basis of their mechanism of action, small-molecule integrin antagonists fall into three different classes. Each of these classes affect the equilibria that relate integrin conformational states, but in different ways.