Research ArticleCell Biology

CD13 tethers the IQGAP1-ARF6-EFA6 complex to the plasma membrane to promote ARF6 activation, β1 integrin recycling, and cell migration

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Science Signaling  30 Apr 2019:
Vol. 12, Issue 579, eaav5938
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aav5938

Recycle and go forth!

Cell migration and motility are critical to embryonic development, immunity, and tissue repair, but uncontrolled migration can lead to disease. Cell migration is mediated in large part through mechanical signals from the cell surface, such as those mediated through the cyclic trafficking of integrins in response to contact with the extracellular matrix (ECM). Ghosh et al. found that the presence of the multifunctional peptidase CD13 at the cell surface facilitated the recruitment of a complex of proteins to the leading edge of migrating cells that promoted β1 integrin recycling to the surface, rather than its degradation, after ECM contact-induced internalization, which enhanced cell migration. These findings expand our understanding of cell migration mechanisms and identify possible targets to therapeutically control it.


Cell attachment to the extracellular matrix (ECM) requires a balance between integrin internalization and recycling to the surface that is mediated by numerous proteins, emphasizing the complexity of these processes. Upon ligand binding in various cells, the β1 integrin is internalized, traffics to early endosomes, and is returned to the plasma membrane through recycling endosomes. This trafficking process depends on the cyclical activation and inactivation of small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) by their specific guanine exchange factors (GEFs) and their GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). In this study, we found that the cell surface antigen CD13, a multifunctional transmembrane molecule that regulates cell-cell adhesion and receptor-mediated endocytosis, also promoted cell migration and colocalized with β1 integrin at sites of cell adhesion and at the leading edge. A lack of CD13 resulted in aberrant trafficking of internalized β1 integrin to late endosomes and its ultimate degradation. Our data indicate that CD13 promoted ARF6 GTPase activity by positioning the ARF6-GEF EFA6 at the cell membrane. In migrating cells, a complex containing phosphorylated CD13, IQGAP1, GTP-bound (active) ARF6, and EFA6 at the leading edge promoted the ARF6 GTPase cycling and cell migration. Together, our findings uncover a role for CD13 in the fundamental cellular processes of receptor recycling, regulation of small GTPase activities, cell-ECM interactions, and cell migration.

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