We have previously identified the scaffold protein liprin-α1 as an important regulator of integrin-mediated cell motility and tumor cell invasion. Liprin-α1 may interact with different proteins, and the functional significance of these interactions in the regulation of cell motility is poorly known. Here we have addressed the involvement of the liprin-α1 partner GIT1 in liprin-α1-mediated effects on cell spreading and migration. GIT1 depletion inhibited spreading by affecting the lamellipodia, and prevented liprin-α1-enhanced spreading. Conversely inhibition of the formation of the liprin-α1-GIT complex by expression of liprin-ΔCC3 could still enhance spreading, although to a lesser extent compared to full length liprin-α1. No cumulative effects were observed after depletion of both liprin-α1 and GIT1, suggesting that the two proteins belong to the same signaling network in the regulation of cell spreading. Our data suggest that liprin-α1 may compete with paxillin for binding to GIT1, while binding of βPIX to GIT1 was unaffected by the presence of liprin-α1. Interestingly, GIT and liprin-α1 reciprocally regulated their subcellular localization, since liprin-α1 overexpression, but not the GIT binding-defective liprin-ΔCC3 mutant, affected the localization of endogenous GIT at peripheral and mature central focal adhesions, while the expression of a truncated, active form of GIT1 enhanced the localization of endogenous liprin-α1 at the edge of spreading cells. Moreover, GIT1 was required for liprin-α1-enhanced haptotatic migration, although the direct interaction between liprin-α1 and GIT1 was not needed. Our findings show that the functional interaction between liprin-α1 and GIT1 cooperate in the regulation of integrin-dependent cell spreading and motility on extracellular matrix. These findings and the possible competition of liprin-α1 with paxillin for binding to GIT1 suggest that alternative binding of GIT1 to either liprin-α1 or paxillin plays distinct roles in different phases of the protrusive activity in the cell.
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