Vascular cells, including platelets, express numerous integrins, and bidirectional signaling appears to be a general function of most of them. While studies of B3 integrins allbB3 and aVB3 have contributed to our current understanding of integrin signaling, important questions remain. Specifically, which intracellular proteins interact with integrin B cytoplasmic tails and how do they transmit signals to and from integrins? The goal of this project is to test two hypotheses relevant to these unresolved questions using advanced experimental approaches. The first hypothesis is that inside-out regulation of allbps affinity is controlled by the coordinated recruitment of proteins such as talin and kindlin-3 to B3. Binary and ternary interactions among these proteins will be examined in living cells, including murine platelets, using bimolecular fluorescence complementation, FRET, and in situ proximity ligation. Studies will address the degree to which talin and kindlin-3 recruitment are dependent on Rap1 GTPase, whether kindlin-3 promotes talin recruitment or vice-versa, and whether adhesive ligand binding to allbB3 is sufficient to promote recruitment of either of these proteins to the B3 tail. The second hypothesis is that interactions of the aV integrin B cytoplasmic domain with talin, kindlins and Src family kinases (SFKs), either alone or in combination, dictate the outcome of aV-mediated processes in vivo. Our preliminary studies with zebrafish embryos using morpholino oligonucleotides to knockdown aV, and aV mRNA to rescue knockdown phenotypes, reveal that gastrulation events required for left-right body axis specification are dependent on aV, as are certain neurological and vascular developmental events also reported in aV knockout mice. Therefore, additional knockdown and rescue experiments will be carried out to identify the relevant zebrafish integrin aV B subunit that regulates specification of laterality. To determine whether integrin interactions with talin, kindlins or SFKs are involved, rescue experiments will be conducted with mutant p subunits that are predicted and demonstrated to selectively or collectively disrupt interactions with these proteins. The proposed studies should clarify basic and conserved mechanisms of allb and aV integrin signaling and inform followup studies in gene-targeted mice, with implications for human platelet and vascular biology.

Public Health Relevance

Integrin receptors are essential for normal development and for platelet and vascular cell function. Integrins are controlled by cell signaling, and in turn they regulate cellular responses to vascular injury. By identifying which signaling proteins are recruited to integrins in living cells, including platelets, and by establishing the impact of these interactions in vivo, these studies have implications for developing new ways to block abnormal integrin function and signaling in cardiovascular disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Heart, Lung, and Blood Initial Review Group (HLBP)
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University of California San Diego
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