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Mol. Biol. Cell 12 (7): 1937-1956

Copyright © 2001 by The American Society for Cell Biology.

Vol. 12, Issue 7, 1937-1956, July 2001

Modulation of Cell-Substrate Adhesion by Arachidonic Acid: Lipoxygenase Regulates Cell Spreading and ERK1/2-inducible Cyclooxygenase Regulates Cell Migration in NIH-3T3 Fibroblasts

Rebecca A. Stockton, and Bruce S. Jacobson*

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003

Adhesion of cells to an extracellular matrix is characterized by several discrete morphological and functional stages beginning with cell-substrate attachment, followed by cell spreading, migration, and immobilization. We find that although arachidonic acid release is rate-limiting in the overall process of adhesion, its oxidation by lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenases regulates, respectively, the cell spreading and cell migration stages. During the adhesion of NIH-3T3 cells to fibronectin, two functionally and kinetically distinct phases of arachidonic acid release take place. An initial transient arachidonate release occurs during cell attachment to fibronectin, and is sufficient to signal the cell spreading stage after its oxidation by 5-lipoxygenase to leukotrienes. A later sustained arachidonate release occurs during and after spreading, and signals the subsequent migration stage through its oxidation to prostaglandins by newly synthesized cyclooxygenase-2. In signaling migration, constitutively expressed cyclooxygenase-1 appears to contribute ~25% of prostaglandins synthesized compared with the inducible cyclooxygenase-2. Both the second sustained arachidonate release, and cyclooxygenase-2 protein induction and synthesis, appear to be regulated by the mitogen-activated protein kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2. The initial cell attachment-induced transient arachidonic acid release that signals spreading through lipoxygenase oxidation is not sensitive to ERK1/2 inhibition by PD98059, whereas PD98059 produces both a reduction in the larger second arachidonate release and a blockade of induced cyclooxygenase-2 protein expression with concomitant reduction of prostaglandin synthesis. The second arachidonate release, and cyclooxygenase-2 expression and activity, both appear to be required for cell migration but not for the preceding stages of attachment and spreading. These data suggest a bifurcation in the arachidonic acid adhesion-signaling pathway, wherein lipoxygenase oxidation generates leukotriene metabolites regulating the spreading stage of cell adhesion, whereas ERK 1/2-induced cyclooxygenase synthesis results in oxidation of a later release, generating prostaglandin metabolites regulating the later migration stage.

* Corresponding author. E-mail address: Jacobson{at}

Molecular Biology of the Cell
Vol. 12, 1937-1956, July 2001
Copyright © 2001 by The American Society for Cell Biology

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