Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Joseph H. McCarty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gary E. Gallick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Georg Halder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Victoria P. Knutson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Renhao Li, Ph.D.


Band 4.1B is a cytoskeletal adaptor protein that regulates various cellular behavior; however, the mechanisms by which Band 4.1B contributes to intracellular signaling are unclear. This project addresses in vivo and in vitro functions for Band 4.1B in integrin-mediated cell adhesion and signaling. Band 4.1B has been shown to bind to β8 integrin, although cooperative functions of these two proteins have not been determined. Here, functional links between β8 integrin and Band 4.1B were investigated using gene knockout strategies. Ablation of β8 integrin and Band 4.1B genes resulted in impaired cardiac morphogenesis, leading to embryonic lethality by E11.5. These embryos displayed malformation of the outflow tract that was likely linked to abnormal regulation of cardiac neural crest migration. These data indicate the importance of cooperative signaling between β8 integrin and Band 4.1B in cardiac development. The involvement of Band 4.1B in integrin-mediated cell adhesion and signaling was further demonstrated by studying its functional roles in vitro. Band 4.1B is highly expressed in the brain, but its signaling in astrocytes is not understood. Here, Band 4.1B was shown to promote cell spreading likely by interacting with β1 integrin via its band 4.1, ezrin, radixin, and moesin (FERM) domain in cell adhesions. In astrocytes, both Band 4.1B and β1 integrin were expressed in cell-ECM contact sites during early cell spreading. Exogenous expression of Band 4.1B, especially its FERM domain, enhanced cell spreading on fibronectin, an ECM ligand for β1 integrin. However, the increased cell spreading was prohibited by blocking β1 integrin. These findings suggest that Band 4.1B is crucial for early adhesion assembly and/or signaling that are mediated by β1 integrin. Collectively, this study was the first to establish Band 4.1B as a modulator of integrin-mediated adhesion and signaling.


Band 4.1B, Integrins, Development, Cell adhesion, Cell migration