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Genes Dev. 1995 Aug 1;9(15):1883-95.

Deletion of beta 1 integrins in mice results in inner cell mass failure and peri-implantation lethality.

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  • 1Department of Stomatology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0512, USA.


Integrin receptors for extracellular matrix receptors are important effectors of cell adhesion, differentiation, and migration in cultured cells and are believed to be critical effectors of these processes during development. To determine when beta 1 integrins become critical during embryonic development, we generated mutant mice with a targeted disruption of the beta 1 integrin subunit gene. Heterozygous mutant mice were normal. Homozygous loss of beta 1 integrin expression was lethal during early postimplantation development. Homozygous embryos lacking beta 1 integrins formed normal-looking blastocysts and initiated implantation at E4.5. However, the E4.5 beta 1-null embryos in situ had collapsed blastocoeles, and whereas the trophoblast penetrated the uterine epithelium, extensive invasion of the decidua was not observed. Laminin-positive endoderm cells were detected in the inner cell mass area, but endoderm morphogenesis and migration were defective. By E5.5 beta 1-null embryos had degenerated extensively. In vitro analysis showed that trophoblast function in beta 1-null peri-implantation embryos was largely normal, including expression of tissue-specific markers, and outgrowth on fibronectin- and vitronectin-coated, although not on laminin-coated substrates. In contrast, the inner cell mass region of beta 1-null blastocyst outgrowths, and inner cell masses isolated from beta 1-null blastocysts, showed highly retarded growth and defective extraembryonic endoderm morphogenesis and migration. These data suggest that beta 1 integrins are required for normal morphogenesis of the inner cell mass and are essential mediators of growth and survival of cells of the inner cell mass. Failure of continued trophoblast development in beta 1-null embryos after inner cell mass failure could be attributable to either an intrinsic requirement for beta 1 integrins for later stages of trophoblast development, or to the lack of trophic signals from the beta 1-null inner cell mass.

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