Integrin activation is an indispensable step for various integrin-mediated biological functions. Kindlin-2 is known to coactivate integrins with Talin; however, molecules that restrict integrin activation are elusive. Here, we demonstrate that the E3 ubiquitin ligase Smurf1 controls the amount of Kindlin-2 protein in cells and hinders integrin activation. Smurf1 interacts with and promotes Kindlin-2 ubiquitination and degradation. Smurf1 selectively mediates degradation of Kindlin-2 but not Talin, leading to inhibition of αIIbβ3 integrin activation in Chinese hamster ovary cells and β1 integrin activation in fibroblasts. Enhanced activation of β1 integrin was found in Smurf1-knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts, which correlates with an increase in Kindlin-2 protein levels. Similarly, a reciprocal relationship between Smurf1 and Kindlin-2 protein levels is found in tissues from colon cancer patients, suggesting that Smurf1 mediates Kindlin-2 degradation in vivo. Collectively, we demonstrate that Smurf1 acts as a brake for integrin activation by controlling Kindlin-2 protein levels, a new mechanism that permits precise modulation of integrin-mediated cellular functions.
- Submitted: 16 September 2016
- Revision received 11 January 2017
- Accepted: 2 March 2017
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