The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

β1-Integrin alters ependymal stem cell BMP receptor localization and attenuates astrogliosis after spinal cord injury.

PMID 25740503


Astrogliosis after spinal cord injury (SCI) is a major impediment to functional recovery. More than half of new astrocytes generated after SCI are derived from ependymal zone stem cells (EZCs). We demonstrate that expression of β1-integrin increases in EZCs following SCI in mice. Conditional knock-out of β1-integrin increases GFAP expression and astrocytic differentiation by cultured EZCs without altering oligodendroglial or neuronal differentiation. Ablation of β1-integrin from EZCs in vivo reduced the number of EZC progeny that continued to express stem cell markers after SCI, increased the proportion of EZC progeny that differentiated into GFAP+ astrocytes, and diminished functional recovery. Loss of β1-integrin increased SMAD1/5/8 and p38 signaling, suggesting activation of BMP signaling. Coimmunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that β1-integrin directly interacts with the bone morphogenetic protein receptor subunits BMPR1a and BMPR1b. Ablation of β1-integrin reduced overall levels of BMP receptors but significantly increased partitioning of BMPR1b into lipid rafts with increased SMAD1/5/8 and p38 signaling. Thus β1-integrin expression by EZCs reduces movement of BMPR1b into lipid rafts, thereby limiting the known deleterious effects of BMPR1b signaling on glial scar formation after SCI.