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Extracellular syntaxin4 triggers the differentiation program in teratocarcinoma F9 cells that impacts cell adhesion properties


The proteins in the syntaxin family are known to mediate fusion of cytoplasmic vesicles to the target membrane, yet subpopulations of certain syntaxins, including syntaxin4, translocate across the cell membrane in response to external stimuli. Here, we show that extracellularly presented syntaxin4 impacts cell behavior and differentiation in teratocarcinoma F9 cells. While undifferentiated F9 cells extruded a small subpopulation of extracellular syntaxin4 at the lateral cell membrane, the induction of differentiation with all-trans retinoic acid (RA) abolished this localized expression pattern. We found that the cells that were stimulated in a non-directional fashion by extracellular syntaxin4 displayed a flattened shape and retained a substrate-bound morphology even under a long-term, serum-starved cultivation. Such a cellular response was also elicited by a circular peptide composed of the potential functional core of syntaxin4 (AIEPQK; amino acid residues 103∼108) (ST4n1). While the proliferation and metabolism were not affected in these cells, cell–cell interaction became weakened and the expression of vinculin, a regulator of both intercellular and cell-substrate adhesion molecules, was altered. We also found that the expressions of several differentiation markers were up-regulated in cells stimulated with extracellular syntaxin4 and that syntaxin3, another family member, was most prominent. Intriguingly, forced expression of syntaxin3 induced the spread morphology in F9 cells, indicating that syntaxin3 partly mediates the function of extracellular syntaxin4. These results demonstrate the involvement of a non-directional stimulation of extracellular syntaxin4 in the functional and morphological differentiation of F9 cells.

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We thank Drs. Nagafuchi and Takeichi for F9 cells and anti-mouse E-cadherin antibodies. We are grateful to all members of Hirai laboratory for helpful discussions. Part of this work was supported by the Hyogo COE Program Promotion Project and Grant-in Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI 24590365).

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Correspondence to Yohei Hirai.

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Hagiwara, N., Kadono, N., Miyazaki, T. et al. Extracellular syntaxin4 triggers the differentiation program in teratocarcinoma F9 cells that impacts cell adhesion properties. Cell Tissue Res 354, 581–591 (2013).

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  • Extracellular localization
  • Syntaxin4
  • F9
  • Differentiation
  • Epimorphin