Spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase specifically binds to the integrin α9 subunit cytoplasmic domain and enhances cell migration

Chun Chen, Bradford A. Young, Catherine S. Coleman, Anthony E. Pegg, Dean Sheppard

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The integrin α9β1 is expressed on migrating cells, such as leukocytes, and binds to multiple ligands that are present at sites of tissue injury and inflammation. α9β1, like the structurally related integrin α4β1, mediates accelerated cell migration, an effect that depends on the α9 cytoplasmic domain. α4β1 enhances migration through reversible binding to the adapter protein, paxillin, but α9β1- dependent migration is paxillin independent. Using yeast two-hybrid screening, we identified the polyamine catabolizing enzyme spermidine/spermine N 1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) as a specific binding partner of the α9 cytoplasmic domain. Overexpression of SSAT increased α9β1-mediated migration, and small interfering RNA knockdown of SSAT inhibited this migration without affecting cell adhesion or migration that was mediated by other integrin cytoplasmic domains. The enzyme activity of SSAT is critical for this effect, because a catalytically inactive version did not enhance migration. We conclude that SSAT directly binds to the α9 cytoplasmic domain and mediates α9-dependent enhancement of cell migration, presumably by localized effects on acetylation of polyamines or of unidentified substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 11 2004


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