Dynamic catch of a Thy-1-α5 β1 +syndecan-4 trimolecular complex

Vincent F. Fiore, Lining Ju, Yunfeng Chen, Cheng Zhu, Thomas H. Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Cancer cell adhesion to the vascular endothelium is a critical step of tumour metastasis. Endothelial surface molecule Thy-1 (CD90) is implicated in the metastatic process through its interactions with integrins and syndecans. However, how Thy-1 supports cell-cell adhesion in a dynamic mechanical environment is not known. Here we show that Thy-1 supports β1 integrin- and syndecan-4 (Syn4)-mediated contractility-dependent mechanosignalling of melanoma cells. At the single-molecule level, Thy-1 is capable of independently binding α 5 β 1 integrin and syndecan-4 (Syn4) receptors. However, in the presence of both α5 β1 and Syn4, the two receptors bind cooperatively to Thy-1, to form a trimolecular complex. This trimolecular complex displays a unique phenomenon we coin dynamic catch, characterized by abrupt bond stiffening followed by the formation of catch bonds, where force prolongs the bond lifetime. Thus, we reveal a new class of trimolecular interactions where force strengthens the synergistic binding of two co-receptors and modulates downstream mechanosignalling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4886
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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