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Syndecan-1 controls cell migration by activating Rap1 to regulate focal adhesion disassembly
William A. Altemeier, Saundra Y. Schlesinger, Catherine A. Buell, William C. Parks, Peter Chen


After injury, residual epithelial cells coordinate contextual clues from cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions to polarize and migrate over the wound bed. Protrusion formation, cell body translocation and rear retraction is a repetitive process that allows the cell to move across the substratum. Fundamental to this process is the assembly and disassembly of focal adhesions that facilitate cell adhesion and protrusion formation. Here, we identified syndecan-1 as a regulator of focal adhesion disassembly in migrating lung epithelial cells. Syndecan-1 altered the dynamic exchange of adhesion complex proteins, which in turn regulates migration speed. Moreover, we provide evidence that syndecan-1 controls this entire process through Rap1. Thus, syndecan-1 restrains migration in lung epithelium by activating Rap1 to slow focal adhesion disassembly.


  • Funding

    This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health: [grant numbers HL084396 to P.C., HL103868 to P.C., HL086883 to W.A.A., and HL029594 to W.C.P.]; the American Heart Association Beginning Grant-in-Aid (to P.C.); the American Lung Association (to P.C.); and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Research Development Program (to W.C.P.). Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.

  • Supplementary material available online at

  • Accepted July 2, 2012.
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