Demonstration of catch bonds between an integrin and its ligand

Author: Fang Kong

Date: 6/29/2009

Journal:J Cell Biol


DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200810002



Binding of integrins to ligands provides anchorage and signals for the cell, making them prime candidates for mechanosensing molecules. How force regulates integrin-ligand dissociation is unclear. We used atomic force microscopy to measure the force-dependent lifetimes of single bonds between a fibronectin fragment and an integrin alpha(5)beta(1)-Fc fusion protein or membrane alpha(5)beta(1). Force prolonged bond lifetimes in the 10-30-pN range, a counterintuitive behavior called catch bonds. Changing cations from Ca(2+)/Mg(2+) to Mg(2+)/EGTA and to Mn(2+) caused longer lifetime in the same 10-30-pN catch bond region. A truncated alpha(5)beta(1) construct containing the headpiece but not the legs formed longer-lived catch bonds that were not affected by cation changes at forces <30 pN. Binding of monoclonal antibodies that induce the active conformation of the integrin headpiece shifted catch bonds to a lower force range. Thus, catch bond formation appears to involve force-assisted activation of the headpiece but not integrin extension.