Syndecan-4/PAR-3 signaling regulates focal adhesion dynamics in mesenchymal cells

Cell Commun Signal. 2020 Aug 18;18(1):129. doi: 10.1186/s12964-020-00629-3.


Background: Syndecans regulate cell migration thus having key roles in scarring and wound healing processes. Our previous results have shown that Thy-1/CD90 can engage both αvβ3 integrin and Syndecan-4 expressed on the surface of astrocytes to induce cell migration. Despite a well-described role of Syndecan-4 during cell movement, information is scarce regarding specific Syndecan-4 partners involved in Thy-1/CD90-stimulated cell migration.

Methods: Mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of complexes precipitated with the Syndecan-4 cytoplasmic tail peptide was used to identify potential Syndecan-4-binding partners. The interactions found by MS were validated by immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays. The conducted research employed an array of genetic, biochemical and pharmacological approaches, including: PAR-3, Syndecan-4 and Tiam1 silencing, active Rac1 GEFs affinity precipitation, and video microscopy.

Results: We identified PAR-3 as a Syndecan-4-binding protein. Its interaction depended on the carboxy-terminal EFYA sequence present on Syndecan-4. In astrocytes where PAR-3 expression was reduced, Thy-1-induced cell migration and focal adhesion disassembly was impaired. This effect was associated with a sustained Focal Adhesion Kinase activation in the siRNA-PAR-3 treated cells. Our data also show that Thy-1/CD90 activates Tiam1, a PAR-3 effector. Additionally, we found that after Syndecan-4 silencing, Tiam1 activation was decreased and it was no longer recruited to the membrane. Syndecan-4/PAR-3 interaction and the alteration in focal adhesion dynamics were validated in mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells, thereby identifying this novel Syndecan-4/PAR-3 signaling complex as a general mechanism for mesenchymal cell migration involved in Thy-1/CD90 stimulation.

Conclusions: The newly identified Syndecan-4/PAR-3 signaling complex participates in Thy-1/CD90-induced focal adhesion disassembly in mesenchymal cells. The mechanism involves focal adhesion kinase dephosphorylation and Tiam1 activation downstream of Syndecan-4/PAR-3 signaling complex formation. Additionally, PAR-3 is defined here as a novel adhesome-associated component with an essential role in focal adhesion disassembly during polarized cell migration. These novel findings uncover signaling mechanisms regulating cell migration, thereby opening up new avenues for future research on Syndecan-4/PAR-3 signaling in processes such as wound healing and scarring.

Keywords: Cell polarity; Cytoskeleton; Focal adhesion turnover; Mesenchymal cell migration; Wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Polarity
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Focal Adhesions / metabolism*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Mesoderm / cytology*
  • Mesoderm / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Syndecan-4 / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphoma Invasion and Metastasis-inducing Protein 1 / metabolism*
  • Thy-1 Antigens / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Pard3 protein, mouse
  • Pard3 protein, rat
  • Syndecan-4
  • T-Lymphoma Invasion and Metastasis-inducing Protein 1
  • Thy-1 Antigens
  • Tiam1 protein, rat