Integrins are activated by signaling from inside the cell (inside-out signaling) through global conformational changes of integrins. We recently discovered that fractalkine activates integrins in the absence of CX3CR1 through the direct binding of fractalkine to a ligand-binding site in the integrin headpiece (site 2) that is distinct from the classical RGD-binding site (site 1). We propose that fractalkine binding to the newly identified site 2 induces activation of site 1 though conformational changes (in an allosteric mechanism). We reasoned that site 2-mediated activation of integrins is not limited to fractalkine. Human secreted phospholipase A2 type IIA (sPLA2-IIA), a proinflammatory protein, binds to integrins αvβ3 and α4β1 (site 1), and this interaction initiates a signaling pathway that leads to cell proliferation and inflammation. Human sPLA2-IIA does not bind to M-type receptor very well. Here we describe that sPLA2-IIA directly activated purified soluble integrin αvβ3 and transmembrane αvβ3 on the cell surface. This activation did not require catalytic activity or M-type receptor. Docking simulation predicted that sPLA2-IIA binds to site 2 in the closed-headpiece of αvβ3. A peptide from site 2 of integrin β1 specifically bound to sPLA2-IIA and suppressed sPLA2-IIA-induced integrin activation. This suggests that sPLA2-IIA activates αvβ3 through binding to site 2. sPLA2-IIA also activated integrins α4β1 and α5β1 in a site 2-mediated manner. We recently identified small compounds that bind to sPLA2-IIA and suppress integrin-sPLA2-IIA interaction (e.g. compound 21 (Cmpd21)). Cmpd21 effectively suppressed sPLA2-IIA-induced integrin activation. These results define a novel mechanism of proinflammatory action of sPLA2-IIA through integrin activation.
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