Kindlin-3 disrupts an intersubunit association in the integrin LFA1 to trigger positive feedback activation by Rap1 and talin1

Sci Signal. 2021 Jun 8;14(686):eabf2184. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.abf2184.


Integrin activation by the intracellular adaptor proteins talin1 and kindlin-3 is essential for lymphocyte adhesion. These adaptors cooperatively control integrin activation through bidirectional (inside-out and outside-in) activation signals. Using single-molecule measurements, we revealed the distinct dynamics of talin1 and kindlin-3 interactions with the integrin LFA1 (αLβ2) and their functions in LFA1 activation and LFA1-mediated adhesion. The kinetics of talin1 binding to the tail of the β2 subunit corresponded to those of LFA1 binding to its ligand ICAM1. ICAM1 binding induced transient interactions between the membrane-proximal cytoplasmic region of the β2 subunit with an N-terminal domain of kindlin-3, leading to disruption of the association between the integrin subunits (the α/β clasp) and unbending of the ectodomains of the α/β heterodimer. These conformational changes promoted high-affinity talin1 binding to the β2 tail that required the talin rod domain and the actomyosin cytoskeleton. Inside-out signaling induced by the GTPase Rap1 did not markedly stabilize the binding of talin1 and kindlin-3 to LFA1. In contrast, ligand-induced outside-in signaling, the stabilization of open LFA1 conformers, or shear force substantially altered the dynamics of talin1 and kindlin-3 association with LFA1 and enhanced both Rap1 and LFA1 activation. In migrating lymphocytes, asymmetrical distribution of talin1 and kindlin-3 correlated with the maturation of LFA1 from a low-affinity conformation at the leading edge to a high-affinity conformation in the adherent mid-body. Our results suggest that kindlin-3 spatiotemporally mediates a positive feedback circuit of LFA1 activation to control dynamic adhesion and migration of lymphocytes.