Molecular analysis of cell surface beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase function during lamellipodal formation, cell polarization, and cell migration

Paul Andrew Appeddu, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The rate and direction of fibroblast locomotion is regulated by the formation of lamellipodia. In turn, lamellipodal formation is modulated in part by adhesion of that region of the cell from which the lamellipodia will extend or orginate. Cell surface $\beta$1,4-galactosyltransferase (GalTase) is one molecule that has been demonstrated to mediate cellular interactions with extracellular matrices. In the case of fibroblasts, GalTase must be associated with the actin cytoskeleton in order to mediate cellular adhesion to laminin. The object of this study was to determine how altering the quantity of GalTase capable of associating with the cytoskeleton impacts cell motility. Stably transfected cell lines were generated that have increased or decreased levels of surface GalTase relative to its cytoskeleton-binding sites. Biochemical analyses of these cells reveals that there is a limited number of sites on the cytoskeleton with which GalTase can interact. Altering the ratio of GalTase to its cytoskeleton binding sites does not affect the cells' abilities to spread, nor does it affect the localization of cytoskeletally-bound GalTase. It does, however, appear to interfere with stress fiber bundling. Cells with altered GalTase:cytoskeleton ratios change their polarity of laminin more frequently, as compared to controls. Therefore, the ectopic expression of GalTase cytoplasmic domains impairs a cell's ability to control the placement of lamellipodia. Cells were then tested for their ability to respond to a directional stimulus, a gradient of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). It was found that the ability of a cell to polarize in response to a gradient of PDGF is directly proportional to the quantity of GalTase associated with its cytoskeleton. Finally, the rate of unidirectional cell migration on laminin was found to be directly dependent upon surface GalTase expression and is inversely related to the ability of surface GalTase to interact with the cytoskeleton. It is therefore proposed that cytoskeletal assembly and lamellipodal formation can be regulated by the altering the ratio of cytoplasmic domains for specific matrix receptors, such as GalTase, relative to their cytoskeleton-binding sites.

Subject Area

Biochemistry|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Appeddu, Paul Andrew, "Molecular analysis of cell surface beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase function during lamellipodal formation, cell polarization, and cell migration" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9413200.