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J Exp Med. 2000 May 1;191(9):1555-67.

Molecular basis for leukocyte integrin alpha(E)beta(7) adhesion to epithelial (E)-cadherin.

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Lymphocyte Biology Section, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Department of Internal Medicine, Bringham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Cadherins are expressed in tissue-restricted patterns and typically mediate homophilic adhesion. Cadherins also mediate lymphocyte adhesion, providing the opportunity for lymphocyte attachment to parenchymal cells. The best characterized example of lymphocyte adhesion to a tissue-specific cell adhesion molecule, as opposed to a vascular endothelial adhesion molecule, is the interaction between integrin alpha(E)beta(7) on intraepithelial lymphocytes and E-cadherin on epithelial cells. However, the molecular basis for an integrin-cadherin interaction is not well defined. Realization that the cadherin domain adopts a topology similar to the immunoglobulin (Ig) fold suggested that integrin recognition of E-cadherin might be similar to recognition of Ig superfamily ligands. Thus, we modeled domain 1 of human E-cadherin and studied the role of solvent-exposed loops that connect Ig-like core-forming beta strands. Mutational analyses localized the integrin alpha(E)beta(7) recognition site to the top of domain 1 at the face formed by the BC and FG loops, a site distinct from the region recognized in intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, -2, and -3, mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1 (MAdCAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), and fibronectin by their integrin ligands. Moreover, the integrin alpha(E)beta(7) binding site is distinct from the homophilic binding site on E-cadherin. These studies provide a conceptual basis for integrin-cadherin binding and extend the model that an Ig-like fold can serve as a scaffold for recognition.

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