Thrombospondin stimulates focal adhesion disassembly through Gi- and phosphoinositide 3-kinase-dependent ERK activation

Academic Article


  • The matricellular protein thrombospondin (TSP) stimulates stress fiber and focal adhesion disassembly through a sequence (hep I) in its heparin-binding domain. TSP/hep I signals focal adhesion disassembly by binding cell surface calreticulin (CRT) and activating phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). However, other components of this signaling pathway have not been identified. We now show that TSP induces focal adhesion disassembly through activation of pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive G proteins and ERK phosphorylation. PTX pretreatment inhibits TSP/hep I-mediated focal adhesion disassembly as well as PI3K activation. In addition, membrane-permeable Gαi2- and Gβγ-blocking peptides inhibit hep I-mediated focal adhesion disassembly. Hep I stimulates a transient increase in ERK activation, which is abrogated by both PTX and PI3K inhibitors. Inhibiting ERK activation with MEK inhibitors blocks hep I-mediated focal adhesion disassembly, indicating that ERK activation is required for cytoskeletal reorganization. G protein signals and ERK phosphorylation are induced by TSP binding to cell surface CRT, because CRT null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) fail to stimulate ERK phosphorylation in response to TSP/hep I treatment. These data show that Gi protein and ERK, in concert with PI3K, are stimulated by TSP-CRT interactions at the cell surface to induce de-adhesive changes in the cytoskeleton.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Orr AW; Pallero MA; Murphy-Ullrich JE
  • Start Page

  • 20453
  • End Page

  • 20460
  • Volume

  • 277
  • Issue

  • 23