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Alpha-actinin and vinculin in human neutrophils: reorganization during adhesion and relation to the actin network
B. Yuruker, V. Niggli

We have studied the reorganization of vinculin and alpha-actinin during the process of adhesion in human neutrophils using immunofluorescence microscopy and interference reflection microscopy (IRM). Neutrophils in contact with uncoated glass formed black IRM areas in the cell periphery, indicative of very close contact with the substratum. Eight to twelve minutes after addition of cells to glass, vinculin was found to become concentrated in small patches at the cell periphery, partially colocalizing with the black IRM areas and with small F-actin-containing adherent protrusions. In contrast, vinculin was not significantly enriched in the less adherent F-actin-rich large pseudopods. alpha-Actinin became enriched during cell adhesion in retraction fibers and, in 40–50% of the inspected cells, also in large less adherent pseudopods where it colocalized with F-actin. The latter finding suggests a continuous dynamic reorganization of pseudopods, with incorporation of alpha-actinin at a certain stage. Disruption of the actin network with cytochalasin D revealed a differential interaction of alpha-actinin and vinculin with the actin network. alpha-Actinin was strongly influenced by cytochalasin D, comparable to F-actin, and both proteins formed colocalizing peripheral caps in 10(−5) M of the drug. Vinculin organization in contrast was not affected by up to 10(−6) M cytochalasin. At 10(−5) M of the drug, however, the patches disappeared completely, vinculin now assuming a diffuse cytoplasmic location. Our results suggest a specialized function of vinculin in adhesion sites of human neutrophils, whereas alpha-actinin may structure the actin network in retraction fibers and in less adherent pseudopods.