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Kindlins are integrin-interacting proteins essential for integrin-mediated cell adhesiveness. In this study, we focused on the evolutionary origin and functional specialization of kindlins as a part of the evolutionary adaptation of cell adhesive machinery. Database searches revealed that many members of the integrin machinery (including talin and integrins) existed before kindlin emergence in evolution. Among the analyzed species, all metazoan lineages—but none of the premetazoans—had at least one kindlin-encoding gene, whereas talin was present in several premetazoan lineages. Kindlin appears to originate from a duplication of the sequence encoding the N-terminal fragment of talin (the talin head domain) with a subsequent insertion of the PH domain of separate origin. Sequence analysis identified a member of the actin filament-associated protein 1 (AFAP1) superfamily as the most likely origin of the kindlin PH domain. The functional divergence between kindlin paralogues was assessed using the sequence swap (chimera) approach. Comparison of kindlin 2 (K2)/kindlin 3 (K3) chimeras revealed that the F2 subdomain, in particular its C-terminal part, is crucial for the differential functional properties of K2 and K3. The presence of this segment enables K2 but not K3 to localize to focal adhesions. Sequence analysis of the C-terminal part of the F2 subdomain of K3 suggests that insertion of a variable glycine-rich sequence in vertebrates contributed to the loss of constitutive K3 targeting to focal adhesions. Thus emergence and subsequent functional specialization of kindlins allowed multicellular organisms to develop additional tissue-specific adaptations of cell adhesiveness. © 2015 Meller, Rogozin, et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (


Julia Meller, Igor B Rogozin, Eugenia Poliakov, Nahum Meller, Mark Bedanov-Pack, Edward F Plow, Jun Qin, Eugene A Podrez, Tatiana V Byzova. Emergence and subsequent functional specialization of kindlins during evolution of cell adhesiveness. Molecular biology of the cell. 2015 Feb 15;26(4):786-96

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PMID: 25540429

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