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Mol Biol Cell. 2004 Feb;15(2):625-36. Epub 2003 Dec 2.

Clustering induces a lateral redistribution of alpha 2 beta 1 integrin from membrane rafts to caveolae and subsequent protein kinase C-dependent internalization.

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  • 1Cell Biology, University of Jyväskylä, FIN-40351 Jyväskylä, Finland.


Integrin alpha 2 beta 1 mediates the binding of several epithelial and mesenchymal cell types to collagen. The composition of the surrounding plasma membrane, especially caveolin-1- and cholesterol-containing membrane structures called caveolae, may be important to integrin signaling. On cell surface alpha 2 beta 1 integrin was located in the raft like membrane domain, rich in GPI-anchored proteins, rather than in caveolae. However, when antibodies were used to generate clusters of alpha 2 beta 1 integrin, they started to move laterally on cell surface along actin filaments. During the lateral movement small clusters fused together. Finally alpha 2 beta 1 integrin was found inside caveolae and subsequently internalized into caveosome-like perinuclear structures. The internalization process, unlike cluster formation or lateral redistribution, was dependent on protein kinase C alpha activity. Caveolae are known to be highly immobile structures and alpha 2 beta 1 integrin clusters represent a previously unknown mechanism to activate endocytic trafficking via caveolae. The process was specific to alpha 2 beta 1 integrin, because the antibody-mediated formation of alpha V integrin clusters activated their internalization in coated vesicles and early endosomes. In addition to natural ligands human echovirus-1 (EV1) gains entry into the cell by binding to alpha 2 beta 1 and taking advantage of alpha 2 beta 1 internalization via caveolae.

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