Transition of podosomes into zipper-like structures in macrophage-derived multinucleated giant cells

Arnat Balabiyev, Nataly P. Podolnikova, Aibek Mursalimov, David Lowry, Jason M. Newbern, Robert W. Roberson, Tatiana P. Ugarova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Macrophage fusion resulting in the formation of multinucleated giant cells (MGCs) is a multistage process that requires many adhesion-dependent steps and involves the rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. The diversity of actin-based structures and their role in macrophage fusion is poorly understood. In this study, we revealed hitherto unrecognized actin-based zipper-like structures (ZLSs) that arise between MGCs formed on the surface of implanted biomaterials. We established an in vitro model for the induction of these structures in mouse macrophages undergoing IL-4-mediated fusion. Using this model, we show that over time MGCs develop cell-cell contacts containing ZLSs. Live-cell imaging using macrophages isolated from mRFP- or eGFP-LifeAct mice demonstrated that ZLSs are dynamic formations undergoing continuous assembly and disassembly and that podosomes are precursors of these structures. Immunostaining experiments showed that vinculin, talin, integrin αMβ2, and other components of podosomes are present in ZLSs. Macrophages deficient in WASp or Cdc42, two key molecules involved in actin core organization in podosomes, as well as cells treated with the inhibitors of the Arp2/3 complex, failed to form ZLSs. Furthermore, E-cadherin and nectin-2 were found between adjoining membranes, suggesting that the transition of podosomes into ZLSs is induced by bridging plasma membranes by junctional proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2002-2020
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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