Isolated integrin beta3 subunit cytoplasmic domains require membrane anchorage and the NPXY motif to recruit to adhesion complexes but do not discriminate between beta1- and beta3-positive complexes

Thromb Haemost. 2005 Jul;94(1):155-66. doi: 10.1160/TH04-12-0792.


Integrin adhesion receptors consist of non-covalently linked alpha and beta subunits each of which contains a large extracellular domain, a single transmembrane domain and a short cytoplasmic tail. Engaged integrins recruit to focal structures globally termed adhesion complexes. The cytoplasmic domain of the beta subunit is essential for this clustering. beta1 and beta3 integrins can recruit at distinct cellular locations (i.e. fibrillar adhesions vs focal adhesions, respectively) but it is not clear whether individual beta subunit cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains are by themselves sufficient to drive orthotopic targeting to the cognate adhesion complex. To address this question, we expressed full-length beta3 transmembrane anchored cytoplasmic domains and truncated beta3 cytoplasmic domains as GFP-fusion constructs and monitored their localization in endothelial cells. Membrane-anchored full-length beta3 cytoplasmic domain and a beta3 mutant lacking the NXXY motif recruited to adhesion complexes, while beta3 mutants lacking the NPXY and NXXY motifs or the transmembrane domain did not. Replacing the natural beta subunit transmembrane domain with an unrelated (i.e. HLA-A2 alpha chain) transmembrane domain significantly reduced recruitment to adhesion complexes. Transmembrane anchored beta3 and cytoplasmic domain constructs, however, recruited without discrimination to beta1- and beta3-rich adhesions complexes. These findings demonstrate that membrane anchorage and the NPXY (but not the NXXY) motif are necessary for beta3 cytoplasmic domain recruitment to adhesion complexes and that the natural transmembrane domain actively contributes to this recruitment. The beta3 transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains alone are insufficient for orthotopic recruitment to cognate adhesion complexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Calcium Phosphates / pharmacology
  • Cattle
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / chemistry*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Electroporation
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrin beta3 / chemistry*
  • Integrins / chemistry
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Transfection


  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Integrin beta3
  • Integrins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • calcium phosphate