Gradients of chemorepellent factors released from myelin may impair axon pathfinding and neuroregeneration after injury. We found that, analogously to the process of chemotaxis in invasive tumor cells, axonal growth cones of Xenopus spinal neurons modulate the functional distribution of integrin receptors during chemorepulsion induced by myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG). A focal MAG gradient induced polarized endocytosis and concomitant asymmetric loss of Β1-integrin and vinculin-containing adhesions on the repellent side during repulsive turning. Loss of symmetrical Β1-integrin function was both necessary and sufficient for chemorepulsion, which required internalization by clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Induction of repulsive Ca2+ signals was necessary and sufficient for the stimulated rapid endocytosis of Β1-integrin. Altogether, these findings identify Β1-integrin as an important functional cargo during Ca2+-dependent rapid endocytosis stimulated by a diffusible guidance cue. Such dynamic redistribution allows the growth cone to rapidly adjust adhesiveness across its axis, an essential feature for initiating chemotactic turning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas