Kon-tiki/Perdido enhances PS2 integrin adhesion and localizes its ligand, Thrombospondin, in the myotendinous junction.
Cell-extracellular matrix adhesion is mediated by cell receptors, mainly integrins and transmembrane proteoglycans, which can functionally interact. How these receptors are regulated and coordinated is largely unknown and key to understand cell adhesion in development. We show that the conserved transmembrane proteoglycan Kon-tiki/Perdido (Kon) interacts with αPS2βPS integrin to mediate muscle-tendon adhesion. Double mutant embryos for kon and inflated show a synergistic increase in muscle detachment. Furthermore, Kon modulates αPS2βPS signaling at the muscle attachment, since P-Fak is reduced in kon mutants. This reduction in integrin signaling can be rescued by the expression of a truncated Kon protein containing the transmembrane and extracellular domains, suggesting that these domains are sufficient to mediate this signaling. We show that these domains are sufficient to properly localize the αPS2βPS ligand, Thrombospondin, to the muscle attachment, and to partially rescue Kon dependent muscle-tendon adhesion. We propose that Kon can engage in a protein complex with αPS2βPS and enhance integrin-mediated signaling and adhesion by recruiting its ligand, which would increase integrin-binding affinity to the extracellular matrix, resulting in the consolidation of the myotendinous junction.