Thy-1, via its GPI anchor, modulates Src family kinase and focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation and subcellular localization, and fibroblast migration, in response to thrombospondin-1/hep I.
Normal fibroblast subpopulations have differential surface expression of the GPI-linked raft protein Thy-1, which correlates with differences in cellular adhesion and migration in vitro. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) induces an intermediate state of adhesion in fibroblasts and other cells which facilitates migration. TSP-1 and the hep I peptide derived from the amino-terminal/heparin-binding domain of TSP-1 induce disassembly of cellular focal adhesions. Our lab previously reported that the induction of focal adhesion disassembly in fibroblasts by TSP-1 or by hep I requires surface expression of Thy-1, as well as lipid raft integrity and Src family kinase (SFK) signaling. We now report that TSP-1/hep I-induced fibroblast migration requires Thy-1 expression and FAK phosphorylation, and that following TSP-1/hep I stimulation, Thy-1 associates with FAK and SFK in a lipid raft-dependent manner. Furthermore, the GPI anchor of Thy-1, which localizes the protein to specific lipid raft microdomains, is necessary for hep I-induced FAK and SFK phosphorylation, focal adhesion disassembly, and migration. This is the first report of an association between Thy-1 and FAK. Thy-1 modulates SFK and FAK phosphorylation and subcellular localization, promoting focal adhesion disassembly and migration in fibroblasts, following exposure to TSP-1/hep I.