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Keywords:

  • integrin;
  • conserved tyrosine;
  • DTC migration;
  • cytoplasmic tail;
  • gonad;
  • ovulation;
  • frameshift mutations;
  • cold-sensitive;
  • beta 1C integrin;
  • NPXY motif

Abstract

Integrin cytoplasmic tails contain motifs that link extracellular information to cell behavior such as cell migration and contraction. To investigate the cell functions mediated by the conserved motifs, we created mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans βpat-3 cytoplasmic tail. The β1D (799FK800), NPXY, tryptophan (784W), and threonine (797TT798) motifs were disrupted to identify their functions in vivo. Animals expressing integrins with disrupted NPXY motifs were viable, but displayed distal tip cell migration and ovulation defects. The conserved threonines were required for gonad migration and contraction as well as tail morphogenesis, whereas disruption of the β1D and tryptophan motifs produced only mild defects. To abolish multiple conserved motifs, a β1C-like variant, which results in a frameshift, was constructed. The βpat-3(β1C) transgenic animals showed cold-sensitive larval arrests and defective muscle structure and gonad migration and contraction. Our study suggests that the conserved NPXY and TT motifs play important roles in the tissue-specific function of integrin. Developmental Dynamics 239:763–772, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.