The interactions between cell surface receptors and sulfated glucosamineglycans serve ubiquitous roles in cell adhesion and receptor signaling. Heparin, a highly sulfated polymer of uronic acids and glucosamine, binds strongly to the integrin receptor alphaXbeta2 (p150,95, CD11c/CD18). Here, we analyze the structural motifs within heparin that constitute high affinity binding sites for the I domain of integrin alphaXbeta2. Heparin oligomers with chain lengths of 10 saccharide residues or higher provide strong inhibition of the binding by the alphaX I domain to the complement fragment iC3b. By contrast, smaller oligomers or the synthetic heparinoid fondaparinux were not able to block the binding. Semipurified heparin oligomers with 12 saccharide residues identified the fully sulfated species as the most potent antagonist of iC3b, with a 1.3 microM affinity for the alphaX I domain. In studies of direct binding by the alphaX I domain to immobilized heparin, we found that the interaction is conformationally regulated and requires Mg2+. Furthermore, the fully sulfated heparin fragment induced conformational change in the ectodomain of the alphaXbeta2 receptor, also demonstrating allosteric linkage between heparin binding and integrin conformation.
Integrins are cell-surface heterodimeric proteins that mediate cell-cell, cell-matrix, and cell-pathogen interactions. Half of the known integrin alpha subunits contain inserted domains (I domains) that coordinate ligand through a metal ion. Although the importance of conformational changes within isolated I domains in regulating ligand binding has been reported, the relationship between metal ion binding affinity and ligand binding affinity has not been elucidated. Metal and ligand binding by several I domain mutants that are stabilized in different conformations are investigated using isothermal titration calorimetry and surface plasmon resonance studies. This work suggests an inverse relationship between metal ion affinity and ligand binding affinity (i.e. constructs with a high affinity for ligand exhibit a low affinity for metal). This trend is discussed in the context of structural studies to provide an understanding of interplay between metal ion binding and ligand affinities and conformational changes.
Adhesion to extracellular ligands through integrins regulates cell shape, migration, growth, and survival. How integrins transmit signals in the outside-to-in direction remains unknown. Whereas in resting integrins the alpha and beta subunit transmembrane domains are associated, ligand binding promotes dissociation and separation of these domains. Here we address whether such separation is required for outside-in signaling. By introduction of an intersubunit disulfide bond, we generated mutant integrin alphaIIbbeta3 with blocked transmembrane separation that binds ligand, mediates adhesion, adopts an extended conformation after ligand binding, and forms antibody-induced macroclusters on the cell surface similarly to wild type. However, the mutant integrin exhibits a profound defect in adhesion-induced outside-in signaling as measured by cell spreading, actin stress-fiber and focal adhesion formation, and focal adhesion kinase activation. This defect was rescued by reduction of the disulfide bond. Our results demonstrate that the separation of transmembrane domains is required for integrin outside-in signal transduction.
The real-time observation of protein dynamics in living cells and organisms is of fundamental importance for understanding biological processes. Most approaches to labeling proteins exploit noncovalent interactions, unsuitable to long-term studies, or genetic fusion to naturally occurring fluorescent proteins that often have unsatisfactory optical properties. Here we used the fungal enzyme cutinase and its suicide substrate p-nitrophenyl phosphonate to covalently attach a variety of labels to the integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) on the surface of living cells. Cutinase was embedded in the extracellular domain of LFA-1 with no appreciable influence on integrin function and conformational regulation. p-nitrophenyl phosphonate-conjugated fluorochromes, including the very bright and stable quantum dots, bound efficiently and specifically to LFA-1/cutinase. The availability of a genetically encoded tag that binds covalently to quantum dots could foster the development of new experimental strategies for the study of protein dynamics in vivo.
Integrins are cell adhesion molecules that mediate cell-cell, cell-extracellular matrix, and cell-pathogen interactions. They play critical roles for the immune system in leukocyte trafficking and migration, immunological synapse formation, costimulation, and phagocytosis. Integrin adhesiveness can be dynamically regulated through a process termed inside-out signaling. In addition, ligand binding transduces signals from the extracellular domain to the cytoplasm in the classical outside-in direction. Recent structural, biochemical, and biophysical studies have greatly advanced our understanding of the mechanisms of integrin bidirectional signaling across the plasma membrane. Large-scale reorientations of the ectodomain of up to 200 A couple to conformational change in ligand-binding sites and are linked to changes in alpha and beta subunit transmembrane domain association. In this review, we focus on integrin structure as it relates to affinity modulation, ligand binding, outside-in signaling, and cell surface distribution dynamics.
The Ig superfamily (IgSF) intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) equilibrates between monomeric and dimeric forms on the cell surface, and dimerization enhances cell adhesion. A crystal structure of ICAM-1 IgSF domains (D) 3-5 revealed a unique dimerization interface in which D4s of two protomers fuse through edge beta-strands to form a single super beta-sandwich domain. Here, we describe a crystal structure at 2.7-A resolution of monomeric ICAM-1 D3-D5, stabilized by the monomer-specific Fab CA7. CA7 binds to D5 in a region that is buried in the dimeric interface and is distal from the dimerization site in D4. In monomeric ICAM-1 D3-D5, a 16-residue loop in D4 that is disordered in the dimeric structure could clearly be traced as a BC loop, a short C strand, and a CE meander with a cis-Pro followed by a solvent-exposed, flexible four-residue region. Deletions of 6 or 10 residues showed that the C-strand is essential for monomer stability, whereas a distinct six-residue deletion showed little contribution of the CE meander. Mutation of two inward-pointing Leu residues in edge beta-strand E to Lys increased monomer stability, confirming the hypothesis that inward-pointing charged side chains on edge beta-strands are an important design feature to prevent beta-supersheet formation. Overall, the studies reveal that monomer-dimer transition is associated with a surprisingly large, physiologically relevant, IgSF domain rearrangement.
Despite extensive evidence that integrin conformational changes between bent and extended conformations regulate affinity for ligands, an alternative hypothesis has been proposed in which a "deadbolt" can regulate affinity for ligand in the absence of extension. Here, we tested both the deadbolt and the extension models. According to the deadbolt model, a hairpin loop in the beta3 tail domain could act as a deadbolt to restrain the displacement of the beta3 I domain beta6-alpha7 loop and maintain integrin in the low affinity state. We found that mutating or deleting the beta3 tail domain loop has no effect on ligand binding by either alphaIIbbeta 3 or alphaVbeta3 integrins. In contrast, we found that mutations that lock integrins in the bent conformation with disulfide bonds resist inside-out activation induced by cytoplasmic domain mutation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that extension is required for accessibility to fibronectin but not smaller fragments. The data demonstrate that integrin extension is required for ligand binding during integrin inside-out signaling and that the deadbolt does not regulate integrin activation.
Diapedesis is critical for immune system function and inflammatory responses. This occurs by migration of blood leukocytes either directly through individual microvascular endothelial cells (the "transcellular" route) or between them (the "paracellular" route). Mechanisms for transcellular pore formation in endothelium remain unknown. Here we demonstrate that lymphocytes used podosomes and extended "invasive podosomes" to palpate the surface of, and ultimately form transcellular pores through, the endothelium. In lymphocytes, these structures were dependent on Src kinase and the actin regulatory protein WASP; inhibition of podosome formation selectively blocked the transcellular route of diapedesis. In endothelium, membrane fusion events dependent on the SNARE-containing membrane fusion complex and intracellular calcium were required for efficient transcellular pore formation in response to podosomes. These findings provide insights into basic mechanisms for leukocyte trafficking and the functions of podosomes.