Cells expressing the NG2 proteoglycan can attach, spread, and migrate on surfaces coated with NG2 mAbs, demonstrating that engagement of NG2 can trigger the cytoskeletal rearrangements necessary for changes in cell morphology and motility. Engagement of different epitopes of the proteoglycan results in distinct forms of actin reorganization. On mAb D120, the cells contain radial actin spikes characteristic of filopodial extension, whereas on mAb N143, the cells contain cortical actin bundles characteristic of lamellipodia. Cells that express NG2 variants lacking the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains are unable to spread or migrate on NG2 mAb-coated surfaces, indicating that these portions of the molecule are essential for NG2-mediated signal transduction. Cells expressing an NG2 variant lacking the C-terminal half of the cytoplasmic domain can still spread normally on mAbs D120 and N143, suggesting that the membrane-proximal cytoplasmic segment is responsible for this process. In contrast, this variant migrates poorly on mAb D120 and exhibits abnormal arrays of radial actin filaments decorated with fascin during spreading on this mAb. The C-terminal portion of the NG2 cytoplasmic domain, therefore, may be involved in regulating molecular events that are crucial for cell motility
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