High-resolution quantification of focal adhesion spatiotemporal dynamics in living cells.
ABSTRACT: Focal adhesions (FAs) are macromolecular complexes that provide a linkage between the cell and its external environment. In a motile cell, focal adhesions change size and position to govern cell migration, through the dynamic processes of assembly and disassembly. To better understand the dynamic regulation of focal adhesions, we have developed an analysis system for the automated detection, tracking, and data extraction of these structures in living cells. This analysis system was used to quantify the dynamics of fluorescently tagged Paxillin and FAK in NIH 3T3 fibroblasts followed via Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRF). High content time series included the size, shape, intensity, and position of every adhesion present in a living cell. These properties were followed over time, revealing adhesion lifetime and turnover rates, and segregation of properties into distinct zones. As a proof-of-concept, we show how a single point mutation in Paxillin at the Jun-kinase phosphorylation site Serine 178 changes FA size, distribution, and rate of assembly. This study provides a detailed, quantitative picture of FA spatiotemporal dynamics as well as a set of tools and methodologies for advancing our understanding of how focal adhesions are dynamically regulated in living cells. A full, open-source software implementation of this pipeline is provided at http://gomezlab.bme.unc.edu/tools.
Project description:Focal adhesions (FAs) are important adhesion sites between eukaryotic cells and the extracellular matrix, their size depending on the locally applied force. To quantitatively study the mechanosensitivity of FAs, we induce their growth and disassembly by varying the distribution of intracellular stress. We present a novel method for micromanipulation of living cells to explore the dynamics of focal adhesion (FA) assembly under force. Fibroblasts are sheared laterally to their adhesion surface with single PDMS micropillars in order to apply laterally stretch or compression to focal adhesions. This allows for measuring the shear force exerted by the micropillar and correlates it with FA length and growth velocity. Furthermore, we analyze the resulting dynamics of FA molecules (paxillin) and compare intensity profiles along FAs before and after the application of external force. The responses of stretched and relaxed FAs differ fundamentally: relaxed and compressed FAs disassemble isotropically and show no length variation while stretched FAs grow unisotropically in the direction of the applied force and show protein influx only at their front.
Project description:Selective cell adhesion is desirable to control cell growth and migration on biomedical implants. Mesenchymal cell migration is regulated through focal adhesions (FAs) and can be modulated by their microenvironment, including changes in surface topography. We use the Number and Molecular Brightness (N&B) imaging analysis to provide a unique perspective on FA assembly and disassembly. This imaging analysis generates a map of real-time fluctuations of protein monomers, dimers, and higher order aggregates of FA proteins, such as paxillin during assembly and disassembly. We show a dynamic view of how nanostructured surfaces (nanoline gratings or nanopillars) regulate single molecular dynamics. In particular, we report that the smallest nanopillars (100 nm spacing) gave rise to a low population of disassembling adhesion clusters of ?2 paxillin proteins whereas the larger nanopillars (380 nm spacing) gave rise to a much larger population of larger disassembling clusters of ?3-5 paxillin proteins. Cells were more motile on the smaller nanopillars (spaced 100-130 nm apart) compared to all other surfaces studied. Thus, physical nanotopography influences cell motility, adhesion size, and adhesion assembly and disassembly. We report for the first time, with single molecular detection, how nanotopography influences cell motility and protein reorganization in adhesions.
Project description:Activation of cell surface receptor integrin has been extensively studied as the first key step to trigger cell adhesion, but the subsequent events, widely regarded as integrin "outside-in" signaling to form supramolecular complexes (focal adhesions [FAs]) to promote dynamic cell adhesion, remain poorly elucidated. Integrin activator kindlin-2 was recently found to associate with paxillin in nascent FAs, implicating an early yet undefined integrin outside-in signaling event. Here we show structurally that kindlin-2 recognizes paxillin via a distinct interface involving the ubiquitin-like kindlin-2 F0 domain and the paxillin LIM4 domain. The interface is adjacent to the membrane binding site of kindlin-2 F0, suggesting a mechanism for kindlin-2 to recruit paxillin to the membrane-proximal site where FA assembly is initiated. Disruption of the interface impaired the localization of paxillin, causing strong defects in FA assembly and cell migration. These data unveil a structural basis of the kindlin-2/paxillin interaction in controlling dynamic cell adhesion.
Project description:Cell migration requires the fine spatiotemporal integration of many proteins that regulate the fundamental processes that drive cell movement. Focal adhesion (FA) dynamics is a continuous process involving coordination between FA and actin cytoskeleton, which is essential for cell migration. We studied the spatiotemporal relationship between the dynamics of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and paxillin at FAs in the protrusion of living endothelial cells. Concurrent dual-color imaging showed that FAK was assembled at FA first, which was followed by paxillin recruitment to the FA. By tracking and quantifying FAK and paxillin in migrating cells, the normalized FAK/Paxillin fluorescence intensity (FI) ratio is > 1 (? 4 fold) at cell front, ? 1 at cell center, and < 1 at cell rear. The significantly higher FAK FI than paxillin FI at cell front indicates that the assembly of FAK-FAs occurs ahead of paxillin at cell front. To determine the time difference between the assemblies of FAK and paxillin at nascent FAs, FAs containing both FAK and paxillin were quantified by image analysis and time correlation. The results show that FAK assembles at the nascent FAs earlier than paxillin in the protrusions at cell front.
Project description:Adhesion and detachment are coordinated critical steps during cell migration. Conceptually, efficient migration requires both effective stabilization of membrane protrusions at the leading edge via nascent adhesions and their successful persistence during retraction of the trailing side via disruption of focal adhesions. As nascent adhesions are much smaller in size than focal adhesions, they are expected to exhibit a stronger adhesivity in order to achieve the coordination between cell front and back. Here, we show that Nudel knockdown by interference RNA (RNAi) resulted in cell edge shrinkage due to poor adhesions of membrane protrusions. Nudel bound to paxillin, a scaffold protein of focal contacts, and colocalized with it in areas of active membrane protrusions, presumably at nascent adhesions. The Nudel-paxillin interaction was disrupted by focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in a paxillin-binding-dependent manner. Forced localization of Nudel in all focal contacts by fusing it to paxillin markedly strengthened their adhesivity, whereas overexpression of structurally activated FAK or any paxillin-binding FAK mutant lacking the N-terminal autoinhibitory domain caused cell edge shrinkage. These results suggest a novel mechanism for selective reinforcement of nascent adhesions via interplays of Nudel and FAK with paxillin to facilitate cell migration.
Project description:Integrin-mediated adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins is dynamically regulated during morphological changes and cell migration. Upon cell adhesion, protein-protein interactions among molecules at focal adhesions (FAs) play major roles in the regulation of cell morphogenesis and migration. Although tyrosine phosphorylation of paxillin is critically involved in adhesion-mediated signaling, the significance of paxillin phosphorylation at Ser-85 and the mechanism by which it regulates cell migration remain unclear. In this study, we examined how Ser-85 phosphorylation of paxillin affects FA formation and cell migration. We found that paxillin phosphorylation at Ser-85 occurred during HeLa cell adhesion to collagen I and was concomitant with tyrosine phosphorylation of both focal adhesion kinase and talin. However, the non-phosphorylatable S85A mutant of paxillin impaired cell spreading, FA turnover, and migration toward collagen I but not toward serum. Furthermore, whereas the (presumably indirect) interaction between paxillin and the C-terminal tail of talin led to dynamic FAs at the cell boundary, S85A paxillin did not bind talin and caused stabilized FAs in the central region of cells. Together, these observations suggest that cell adhesion-dependent Ser-85 phosphorylation of paxillin is important for its interaction with talin and regulation of dynamic FAs and cell migration.
Project description:Alpha-parvin is an essential component of focal adhesions (FAs), which are large multiprotein complexes that link the plasma membrane and actin cytoskeleton. Alpha-parvin contains two calponin homology (CH) domains and its C-terminal CH2 domain binds multiple targets including paxillin LD motifs for regulating the FA network and signaling. Here we describe the solution structure of alpha-parvin CH2 bound to paxillin LD1. We show that although CH2 contains the canonical CH-fold, a previously defined N-terminal linker forms an alpha-helix that packs unexpectedly with the C-terminal helix of CH2, resulting in a novel variant of the CH domain. Importantly, such packing generates a hydrophobic surface that recognizes the Leu-rich face of paxillin-LD1, and the binding pattern differs drastically from the classical paxillin-LD binding to four-helix bundle proteins such as focal adhesion kinase. These results define a novel modular recognition mode and reveal how alpha-parvin associates with paxillin to mediate the FA assembly and signaling.
Project description:Anchorage to matrix is mediated for many cells not only by integrin-based focal adhesions but also by a parallel assembly of integral and peripheral membrane proteins known as the Dystroglycan Complex. Deficiencies in either dystrophin (mdx mice) or ?-sarcoglycan (?SG(-/-) mice) components of the Dystroglycan Complex lead to upregulation of numerous focal adhesion proteins, and the phosphoprotein paxillin proves to be among the most prominent. In mdx muscle, paxillin-Y31 and Y118 are both hyper-phosphorylated as are key sites in focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and the stretch-stimulatable pro-survival MAPK pathway, whereas ?SG(-/-) muscle exhibits more erratic hyper-phosphorylation. In cultured myotubes, cell tension generated by myosin-II appears required for localization of paxillin to adhesions while vinculin appears more stably integrated. Overexpression of wild-type (WT) paxillin has no obvious effect on focal adhesion density or the physical strength of adhesion, but WT and a Y118F mutant promote contractile sarcomere formation whereas a Y31F mutant shows no effect, implicating Y31 in striation. Self-peeling of cells as well as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) probing of cells with or without myosin-II inhibition indicate an increase in cell tension within paxillin-overexpressing cells. However, prednisolone, a first-line glucocorticoid for muscular dystrophies, decreases cell tension without affecting paxillin at adhesions, suggesting a non-linear relationship between paxillin and cell tension. Hypertension that results from upregulation of integrin adhesions is thus a natural and treatable outcome of Dystroglycan Complex down-regulation.
Project description:RITA, the RBP-J interacting and tubulin-associated protein, has been reported to be related to tumor development, but the underlying mechanisms are not understood. Since RITA interacts with tubulin and coats microtubules of the cytoskeleton, we hypothesized that it is involved in cell motility. We show here that depletion of RITA reduces cell migration and invasion of diverse cancer cell lines and mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Cells depleted of RITA display stable focal adhesions (FA) with elevated active integrin, phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase, and paxillin. This is accompanied by enlarged size and disturbed turnover of FA. These cells also demonstrate increased polymerized tubulin. Interestingly, RITA is precipitated with the lipoma-preferred partner (LPP), which is critical in actin cytoskeleton remodeling and cell migration. Suppression of RITA results in reduced LPP and ?-actinin at FA leading to compromised focal adhesion turnover and actin dynamics. This study identifies RITA as a novel crucial player in cell migration and invasion by affecting the turnover of FA through its interference with the dynamics of actin filaments and microtubules. Its deregulation may contribute to malignant progression.
Project description:We used correlation methods to detect and quantify interactions between paxillin and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in migrating cells. Cross-correlation raster-scan image correlation spectroscopy revealed that wild-type paxillin and the phosphorylation-inhibiting paxillin mutant Y31F-Y118F do not interact with FAK in the cytosol but a phosphomimetic mutant of paxillin, Y31E-Y118E, does. By extending cross-correlation number and brightness analysis to the total internal reflection fluorescence modality, we were able to show that tetramers of paxillin and FAK form complexes in nascent adhesions with a 1:1 stoichiometry ratio. The phosphomimetic mutations on paxillin increase the size of the complex and the assembly rate of nascent adhesions, suggesting that the physical molecular aggregation of paxillin and FAK regulates adhesion formation. In contrast, when phosphorylation is inhibited, the interaction decreases and the adhesions tend to elongate rather than turn over. These direct in vivo data show that the phosphorylation of paxillin is specific to adhesions and leads to localized complex formation with FAK to regulate the dynamics of nascent adhesions.