The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: John R. Couchman

Integrin and proteoglycan receptors that control cell adhesion to extracellular matrix: impact on migration, invasion and disease

John R. Couchman
Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Extracellular matrix is as old as multicellular life, and the retention of gene duplications of matrix genes and their receptors in vertebrates is connected to their success. A major class of receptors responsible for specific cell adhesion to matrix is the integrins. These receptors have complex signaling pathways that regulate spreading, migration and survival. However, our work suggests that they do not operate alone, but are themselves influenced by another receptor class, the syndecan proteoglycans. Data will be presented to show that syndecans regulate the strength of adhesion that might be important in cell migration and invasion, and in tissue repair. One syndecan, syndecan-4, is understood better than all the others. Its signaling pathway, which influences the organisation of the actin cytoskeleton, will be described, as well as a structural analysis of the syndecan-4 cytoplasmic domain. Ongoing projects show that the interplay between integrins and syndecans is complex, and may involve multiple pathways. Most recently, new data suggests a role for a region of the extracellular domain of syndecan-4 in a novel pathway leading to integrin activation.

Host: Marion Kusche-Gullberg <marion.kusche@biomed.uib.no>, Department of Biomedicine