Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are a major class of lipid-anchored plasma membrane proteins. GPI-APs form nanoclusters generated by cortical acto-myosin activity. While our understanding of the physical principles governing this process is emerging, the molecular machinery and functional relevance of GPI-AP nanoclustering are unknown. Here, we first show that a membrane receptor signaling pathway directs nanocluster formation. Arg-Gly-Asp motif-containing ligands bound to the β1-integrin receptor activate src and focal adhesion kinases, resulting in RhoA signaling. This cascade triggers actin-nucleation via specific formins, which, along with myosin activity, drive the nanoclustering of membrane proteins with actin-binding domains. Concurrently, talin-mediated activation of the mechano-transducer vinculin is required for the coupling of the acto-myosin machinery to inner-leaflet lipids, thereby generating GPI-AP nanoclusters. Second, we show that these nanoclusters are functional; disruption of their formation either in GPI-anchor remodeling mutants or in vinculin mutants impairs cell spreading and migration, hallmarks of integrin function.
Keywords: GPI-anchored proteins; active actin-membrane composite; active rafts; cell signaling; cell spreading; integrin; mechanotransduction; membrane domains; nanoclusters; vinculin.
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