Recent studies have shown that fibronectin and its 140K membrane receptor complex are spatially associated with microfilaments to form cell surface linkage complexes which are thought to mediate adhesive interactions between fibroblasts and their substrata. We examined the regulation of the organization of these cell surface structures in transformed and fibronectin-reconstituted cells as well as in cells treated with a competitive synthetic peptide inhibitor of fibronectin binding to its receptor. Correlative localization experiments with interference reflection microscopy and double-label or triple-label immunofluorescence revealed a concomitant loss of fibronectin, 140K receptor, and alpha-actinin colocalization at cell substratum extracellular matrix contact sites after transformation of chick fibroblasts by wild-type or temperature-sensitive Rous sarcoma viruses (RSV). Western and dot immunoblot analyses established that although similar total quantities of intact 140K molecules were present in the transformed cell cultures, significantly more was released into the culture medium of transformed cells. The 140K molecules on transformed cells were available for interaction with exogenously added fibronectin, which could reconstitute fibronectin-140K linkage complexes. In such fibronectin reconstitution experiments, many cells expressed both fibronectin-140K-actin linkage complexes and RSV pp60src, indicating that the morphological reversion could occur even in the continued presence of RSV transformation. The synthetic peptide Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser derived from the sequence of the cell-binding region of fibronectin could also prevent the organization of fibronectin-140K linkage complexes. Our results suggest that fibronectin interaction with cells regulates the organization of fibronectin receptor complexes and cytoskeletal components at the cell surface.

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