Fibronectin (FN) stimulates multiple signalling events including mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation. During cell spreading, both the cell-binding domain and the C-terminal heparin-binding domain (HepII) of FN co-operatively regulate cytoskeleton organization. However, in comparison with the large number of studies on the functions of cell-binding domain, there is little information about the role of HepII. We therefore investigated the effect of HepII on integrin-mediated cell spreading and adhesion on FN and MAPK activation. In contrast with cells on FN substrates, rat embryo fibroblasts on FN120, which lacks HepII, were less spread, had weaker adhesion to FN and failed to form focal adhesions and actin stress fibres. Phosphotyrosine was present in the focal contacts of rat embryo fibroblasts on FN within 30 min but was absent from cells on FN120. Overall, tyrosine phosphorylation was much less in cell lysates from cells on FN120, with decreased phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase ('pp125FAK') on tyrosine-397, implying additional regulation of tyrosine phosphorylation by HepII. Nevertheless, adhesion-mediated MAPK activity was similar in cells on FN and on FN120. Furthermore, cells spread on FN and on FN120 substrates showed similar MAPK activation in response to treatment with epidermal growth factor and with platelet-derived growth factor. Consistently, overexpression of syndecan-4, which binds to HepII, enhanced cell spreading and adhesion on FN but did not affect integrin-mediated MAPK activation. We therefore conclude that both HepII and syndecan-4 regulate integrin-mediated cell spreading but not MAPK activation.
- Focal adhesion kinase
- Tyrosine phosphorylation