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P0-related protein (PZR), a Noonan and Leopard syndrome target, is a member of the transmembrane Immunoglobulin superfamily. Its cytoplasmic tail contains two immune-receptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motifs (ITIMs), implicated in adhesion-dependent signaling and regulating cell adhesion and motility. PZR promotes cell migration on the extracellular matrix (ECM) molecule, fibronectin, by interacting with SHP-2 (Src homology-2 domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase-2), a molecule essential for skeletal development and often mutated in Noonan and Leopard syndrome patients sharing overlapping musculoskeletal abnormalities and cardiac defects. To further explore the role of PZR, we assessed the expression of PZR and its ITIM-less isoform, PZRb, in human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (hBM MSC), and its ability to facilitate adhesion to and spreading and migration on various ECM molecules. Furthermore, using siRNA knockdown, confocal microscopy, and immunoprecipitation assays, we assessed PZR and PZRb interactions with β1 integrins. PZR was the predominant isoform in hBM MSC. Migrating hBM MSCs interacted most effectively with fibronectin and required the association of PZR, but not PZRb, with the integrin, VLA-5(α5β1), leading to modulation of focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation and vinculin levels. This raises the possibility that dysregulation of PZR function may modify hBM MSC migratory behavior, potentially contributing to skeletal abnormalities.

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Laboratory of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School, 115 27 Athens, Greece.


Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Humans, Tyrosine, Carrier Proteins, Fibronectins, Integrin alpha5beta1, Phosphoproteins, Signal Transduction, Cell Movement