The Journal of biological chemistry

A molecular mechanism for the requirement of PAT-4 (integrin-linked kinase (ILK)) for the localization of UNC-112 (Kindlin) to integrin adhesion sites.

PMID 22761445


Caenorhabditis elegans muscle cells attach to basement membrane through adhesion plaques. PAT-3 (β-integrin), UNC-112 (kindlin), and PAT-4 (integrin-linked kinase) are associated with these structures. Genetic analysis indicated that PAT-4 is required for UNC-112 to be properly localized. We investigated the molecular basis of this requirement. We show that the cytoplasmic tail of PAT-3 binds to full-length UNC-112 and that the N- and C-terminal halves of UNC-112 bind to each other. We demonstrate competition between the UNC-112 C-terminal half and PAT-4 for binding to the UNC-112 N-terminal half. The D382V mutation results in lack of binding to PAT-4 and lack of localization to adhesion structures. T346A or E349K mutations, which abolish interaction of the N- and C-terminal halves, permit D382V UNC-112 to localize to adhesion structures. The following model is proposed. UNC-112 exists in closed inactive and open active conformations, and upon binding of PAT-4 to the UNC-112 N-terminal half, UNC-112 is converted into the open state, able to bind to PAT-3.