The long-term goal of this competing renewal application is to elucidate the molecular basis underlying cell- extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion and regulation, and the mechanism whereby they control cell behavior, tissue integrity, growth and regeneration. Recent studies by the applicant and others have demonstrated a critical role of kindlin-2 (also known as Mig-2), a widely expressed membrane-cytoskeleton junctional protein, in integrin activation and cell-ECM adhesion. How kindlin-2 regulates these processes, however, is not known. Based on findings obtained during previous project periods, the applicant hypothesizes that kindlin-2 regulates these processes through interacting with membrane lipids and protein components of cell-ECM adhesions. To test this hypothesis, he proposes studies with the following three aims.
Aim 1 is to characterize the interaction of kindlin-2 with membrane lipids and assess its role in regulation of integrins and integrin-dependent processes. To this end, he will employ genetic, pharmacological and dominant negative inhibition strategies to ablate this interaction, and determine the consequences.
Aim 2 is to determine the functions of kindlin-2 interactions with focal adhesion proteins in regulation of cell-ECM adhesion. He will define the sites mediating the interactions and use a """"""""knock-in"""""""" strategy to replace wild type kindlin-2 with mutants lacking specific protein-binding activity and determine the consequences.
Aim 3 is to investigate the functions of kindlin-2 and its interplay with ILK in liver structure, growth and regeneration, which are known to be regulated by ECM adhesion and ILK signaling. He will generate hepatocyte-specific kindlin-2 knockout and """"""""knock-in"""""""" mice, in which wild type kindlin-2 is substituted with kindlin-2 mutants lacking specific binding activities, and determine contributions of kindlin-2 and its interactions to regulation of hepatocyte behavior, liver structure, growth and regeneration. These studies will fill important gaps in our understanding of the mechanism whereby cell-ECM adhesion and ECM-dependent tissue processes are regulated. Given the importance of cell-ECM adhesion in human diseases, these studies may also lead to novel approaches to control diseases associated with abnormal cell-ECM adhesion and signaling.

Public Health Relevance

Alteration of cell-ECM adhesion is critically involved in the pathogenesis of human diseases including cancer. This project seeks to determine how a recently identified regulator of cell-ECM adhesion influences cell-ECM adhesion, tissue structure, growth and regeneration. These studies may lead to identification of novel therapeutic targets to control diseases associated with abnormal cell-ECM adhesion and growth.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Intercellular Interactions (ICI)
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Flicker, Paula F
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Zhu, Ke; Yi, Jianxun; Xiao, Yajuan et al. (2015) Impaired bone homeostasis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mice with muscle atrophy. J Biol Chem 290:8081-94
Wu, Chuanyue; Jiao, Hongli; Lai, Yumei et al. (2015) Kindlin-2 controls TGF-? signalling and Sox9 expression to regulate chondrogenesis. Nat Commun 6:7531
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