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Engagement of integrins by the extracellular matrix initiates signaling cascades that drive a variety of cellular functions, including neuronal migration and axonal pathfinding in the brain. Multiple lines of evidence link the gene encoding the integrin β3 subunit with the serotonin (5-HT) system, likely via its modulation of the 5-HT transporter (SERT). The coding polymorphism Leu33Pro (rs5918, Pl) produces hyperactive αvβ3 receptors that influence whole-blood 5-HT levels and may influence the risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Using a phenome-wide scan of psychiatric diagnoses, we found significant, male-specific associations between the Pro33 allele and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and ASDs. Here, we used knock-in (KI) mice expressing an variant that phenocopies the human Pro33 variant to elucidate the consequences of constitutively enhanced αvβ3 signaling to the 5-HT system in the brain. KI mice displayed deficits in multiple behaviors, including anxiety, repetitive, and social behaviors. Anatomical studies revealed a significant decrease in 5-HT synapses in the midbrain, accompanied by decreases in SERT activity and reduced localization of SERTs to integrin adhesion complexes in synapses of KI mice. Inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) rescued SERT function in synapses of KI mice, demonstrating that constitutive active FAK signaling downstream of the Pro32Pro33 integrin αvβ3 suppresses SERT activity. Our studies identify a complex regulation of 5-HT homeostasis and behaviors by integrin αvβ3, revealing an important role for integrins in modulating risk for neuropsychiatric disorders. The integrin β3 Leu33Pro coding polymorphism has been associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) within a subgroup of patients with elevated blood 5-HT levels, linking integrin β3, 5-HT, and ASD risk. We capitalized on these interactions to demonstrate that the Pro33 coding variation in the murine integrin β3 recapitulates the sex-dependent neurochemical and behavioral attributes of ASD. Using state-of-the-art techniques, we show that presynaptic 5-HT function is altered in these mice, and that the localization of 5-HT transporters to specific compartments within the synapse, disrupted by the integrin β3 Pro33 mutation, is critical for appropriate reuptake of 5-HT. Our studies provide fundamental insight into the genetic network regulating 5-HT neurotransmission in the CNS that is also associated with ASD risk.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/3711272-14$15.00/0.
Integrins are transmembrane receptors composed of α and β subunits. Although most integrins contain β1, canonical activation mechanisms are based on studies of the platelet integrin, αIIbβ3. Its inactive conformation is characterized by the association of the αIIb transmembrane and cytosolic domain (TM/CT) with a tilted β3 TM/CT that leads to activation when disrupted. We show significant structural differences between β1 and β3 TM/CT in bicelles. Moreover, the 'snorkeling' lysine at the TM/CT interface of β subunits, previously proposed to regulate αIIbβ3 activation by ion pairing with nearby lipids, plays opposite roles in β1 and β3 integrin function and in neither case is responsible for TM tilt. A range of affinities from almost no interaction to the relatively high avidity that characterizes αIIbβ3 is seen between various α subunits and β1 TM/CTs. The αIIbβ3-based canonical model for the roles of the TM/CT in integrin activation and function clearly does not extend to all mammalian integrins.
Human platelets display a unique dual receptor system for responding to its primary endogenous activator, α-thrombin. Because of the lack of efficacious antagonists, the field has relied on synthetic peptides and pepducins to describe protease-activated receptor PAR1 and PAR4 signaling. The precise contributions of each receptor have not been established in the context of thrombin. We took advantage of newly discovered PAR antagonists to contrast the contribution of PAR1 and PAR4 to thrombin-mediated activation of the platelet fibrin receptor (GPIIbIIIa). PAR1 is required for platelet activation at low but not high concentrations of thrombin, and maximal platelet activation at high concentrations of thrombin requires PAR4. As the concentration of thrombin is increased, PAR1 signaling is quickly overcome by PAR4 signaling, leaving a narrow window of low thrombin concentrations that exclusively engage PAR1. PAR4 antagonism reduces the maximum thrombin response by over 50%. Thus, although the PAR1 response still active at higher concentrations of thrombin, this response is superseded by PAR4. Truncation of a known PAR4 antagonist and identification of the minimum pharmacophore converted the mechanism of inhibition from noncompetitive to competitive, such that the antagonist could be outcompeted by increasing doses of the ligand. Fragments retained efficacy against both soluble and tethered ligands with lower cLogP values and an increased free fraction in plasma. These reversible, competitive compounds represent a route toward potentially safer PAR4 antagonists for clinical utility and the development of tools such as radioligands and positron emission tomography tracers that are not currently available to the field for this target.
Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Cancer patients frequently develop skeletal metastases that significantly impact quality of life. Since bone metastases remain incurable, a clearer understanding of molecular mechanisms regulating skeletal metastases is required to develop new therapeutics that block establishment of tumors in bone. While many studies have suggested that the microenvironment contributes to bone metastases, the factors mediating tumors to progress from a quiescent to a bone-destructive state remain unclear. In this study, we hypothesized that the "soil" of the bone microenvironment, specifically the rigid mineralized extracellular matrix, stimulates the transition of the tumor cells to a bone-destructive phenotype. To test this hypothesis, we synthesized 2D polyurethane (PUR) films with elastic moduli ranging from the basement membrane (70 MPa) to cortical bone (3800 MPa) and measured expression of genes associated with mechanotransduction and bone metastases. We found that expression of Integrin β3 (Iβ3), as well as tumor-produced factors associated with bone destruction (Gli2 and parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP)), significantly increased with matrix rigidity, and that blocking Iβ3 reduced Gli2 and PTHrP expression. To identify the mechanism by which Iβ3 regulates Gli2 and PTHrP (both are also known to be regulated by TGF-β), we performed Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and immunoprecipitation, which indicated that Iβ3 co-localized with TGF-β Receptor Type II (TGF-β RII) on rigid but not compliant films. Finally, transplantation of tumor cells expressing Iβ3 shRNA into the tibiae of athymic nude mice significantly reduced PTHrP and Gli2 expression, as well as bone destruction, suggesting a crucial role for tumor-produced Iβ3 in disease progression. This study demonstrates that the rigid mineralized bone matrix can alter gene expression and bone destruction in an Iβ3/TGF-β-dependent manner, and suggests that Iβ3 inhibitors are a potential therapeutic approach for blocking tumor transition to a bone destructive phenotype.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Converging lines of evidence have identified genetic interactions between the serotonin transporter (SERT) gene and ITGB3, which encodes the β3 subunit that forms the αIIbβ3 and αvβ3 integrin receptor complexes. Here we examine the consequences of haploinsufficiency in the mouse integrin β3 subunit gene (Itgb3) on SERT function and selective 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) effectiveness in vivo. Biochemical fractionation studies and immunofluorescent staining of murine brain slices reveal that αvβ3 receptors and SERTs are enriched in presynaptic membranes from several brain regions and that αvβ3 colocalizes with a subpopulation of SERT-containing synapses in raphe nuclei. Notably, we establish that loss of a single allele of Itgb3 in murine neurons is sufficient to decrease 5-HT uptake by SERT in midbrain synaptosomes. Pharmacological assays to elucidate the αvβ3-mediated mechanism of reduced SERT function indicate that decreased integrin β3 subunit expression scales down the population size of active SERT molecules and, as a consequence, lowers the effective dose of SSRIs. These data are consistent with the existence of a subpopulation of SERTs that are tightly modulated by integrin αvβ3 and significantly contribute to global SERT function at 5-HT synapses in the midbrain. Importantly, our screen of a normal human population for single nucleotide polymorphisms in human ITGB3 identified a variant associated with reductions in integrin β3 expression levels that parallel our mouse findings. Thus, polymorphisms in human ITGB3 may contribute to the differential responsiveness of select patients to SSRIs.
The plasma-membrane integrin αIIbβ3 (CD41/CD61, GPIIbIIIa) is a major functional receptor in platelets during clotting. A common isoform of integrin β3, Leu33Pro is associated with enhanced platelet function and increased risk for coronary thrombosis and stroke, although these findings remain controversial. To better understand the molecular mechanisms by which this sequence variation modifies platelet function, we produced transgenic knockin mice expressing a Pro32Pro33 integrin β3. Consistent with reports utilizing human platelets, we found significantly reduced bleeding and clotting times, as well as increased in vivo thrombosis, in Pro32Pro33 homozygous mice. These alterations paralleled increases in platelet attachment and spreading onto fibrinogen resulting from enhanced integrin αIIbβ3 function. Activation with protease-activated receptor 4- activating peptide, the main thrombin signaling receptor in mice, showed no significant difference in activation of Pro32Pro33 mice as compared with controls, suggesting that inside-out signaling remains intact. However, under unstimulated conditions, the Pro32Pro33 mutation led to elevated Src phosphorylation, facilitated by increased talin interactions with the β3 cytoplasmic domain, indicating that the αIIbβ3 intracellular domains are primed for activation while the ligand-binding domain remains unchanged. Acute dosing of animals with a Src inhibitor was sufficient to rescue the clotting phenotype in knockin mice to wild-type levels. Together, our data establish that the Pro32Pro33 structural alteration modifies the function of integrin αIIbβ3, priming the integrin for outside-in signaling, ultimately leading to hypercoagulability. Furthermore, our data may support a novel approach to antiplatelet therapy by Src inhibition where hemostasis is maintained while reducing risk for cardiovascular disease.
Dysfunctions in serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) systems have been associated with several psychiatric illnesses, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Convergent evidence from genetic analyses of human subjects has implicated the integrin β3 subunit gene (ITGB3) as a modulator of serotonergic systems via genetic interactions with the 5-HT transporter gene (SLC6A4, SERT). While genetic interactions may result from contributions of each gene at several levels, we hypothesize that ITGB3 modulates the 5-HT system at the level of the synapse, through the actions of integrin αvβ3. Here we utilized a genetic approach in mouse models to examine Itgb3 contributions to SERT function both in the context of normal and reduced SERT expression. As integrin αvβ3 is expressed in postsynaptic membranes, we isolated synaptoneurosomes, which maintain intact pre- and post-synaptic associations. Citalopram binding revealed significant Slc6a4-driven reductions in SERT expression in midbrain synapses, whereas no significant changes were observed in hippocampal or cortical projections. Expecting corresponding changes to SERT function, we also measured 5-HT uptake activity in synaptoneurosomal preparations. Itgb3 single heterozygous mice displayed significant reductions in 5-HT Vmax, with no changes in Km, in midbrain preparations. However, in the presence of both Itgb3 and Slc6a4 heterozygozity, 5-HT uptake was similar to wild-type levels, revealing a significant Slc6a4 by Itgb3 genetic interaction in the midbrain. Similar findings were observed in cortical preparations, whereas in the hippocampus, most Vmax changes were driven solely by Slc6a4. Our findings provide evidence that integrin αvβ3 is involved in the regulation of serotonergic systems in some, but not all 5-HT synapses, revealing novel contributions to synaptic specificity within the central nervous system.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Loss of β1 integrin expression inhibits renal collecting-system development. Two highly conserved NPXY motifs in the distal β1 tail regulate integrin function by associating with phosphtyrosine binding (PTB) proteins, such as talin and kindlin. Here, we define the roles of these two tyrosines in collecting-system development and delineate the structural determinants of the distal β1 tail using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Mice carrying alanine mutations have moderate renal collecting-system developmental abnormalities relative to β1-null mice. Phenylalanine mutations did not affect renal collecting-system development but increased susceptibility to renal injury. NMR spectra in bicelles showed the distal β1 tail is disordered and does not interact with the model membrane surface. Alanine or phenylalanine mutations did not alter β1 structure or interactions between α and β1 subunit transmembrane/cytoplasmic domains; however, they did decrease talin and kindlin binding. Thus, these studies highlight the fact that the functional roles of the NPXY motifs are organ dependent. Moreover, the β1 cytoplasmic tail, in the context of the adjacent transmembrane domain in bicelles, is significantly different from the more ordered, membrane-associated β3 integrin tail. Finally, tyrosine mutations of β1 NPXY motifs induce phenotypes by disrupting their interactions with critical integrin binding proteins like talins and kindlins.
Elevated whole blood serotonin 5-HT, or hyperserotonemia, is a common biomarker in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The integrin β3 receptor subunit gene (ITGB3) is a quantitative trait locus for whole blood 5-HT levels. Recent work shows that integrin β3 interacts with the serotonin transporter (SERT) in both platelets and in the midbrain. Furthermore, multiple studies have now reported gene-gene interaction between the integrin β3 and SERT genes in association with ASD. Given the lack of previous data on the impact of integrin β3 on brain or behavioral phenotypes, we sought to compare mice with decreased or absent expression of the integrin β3 receptor subunit (Itgb3 +/- and -/-) with wildtype littermate controls in behavioral tasks relevant to ASD. These mice did not show deficits in activity level in the open field or anxiety-like behavior on the elevated plus maze, two potential confounds in the evaluation of mouse social behavior. In the three-chamber social test, mice lacking integrin β3 were shown to have normal sociability but did not show a preference for social novelty. Importantly, the absence of integrin β3 did not impair olfaction or the ability to recall familiar social odors. Additionally, mice lacking integrin β3 showed increased grooming behavior in novel environments. These preliminary studies reveal altered social and repetitive behavior in these mice, which suggests that the integrin β3 subunit may be involved in brain systems relevant to ASD. Further work is needed to fully characterize these behavioral changes and the underlying brain mechanisms.
Copyright © 2011, International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder affecting more males than females. Heritability estimates for autism can rise above 90%, and genes influencing the serotonin system are strong candidates for autism susceptibility genes, as drugs selectively acting on the serotonin system are some of the most effective treatments for maladaptive behaviors seen in autism. ITGB3 was recently identified as a male quantitative trait locus (QTL) for whole-blood serotonin levels in the Hutterites (P = 0.0003). Here, we demonstrate associations between variation in ITGB3 and serotonin levels in two outbred samples (P = 0.010 and 0.015). Lastly, we show that a coding variant of ITGB3 is associated with autism susceptibility in a large multiplex sample (P = 0.00082), and that this variation has different effects in males and females (P = 0.0018).