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J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Dec;117(6):1405-11.

Two different mutations in the cytoplasmic domain of the integrin beta 4 subunit in nonlethal forms of epidermolysis bullosa prevent interaction of beta 4 with plectin.

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Division of Cell Biology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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  • J Invest Dermatol 2002 May;118(5):910.


The integrin alpha 6 beta 4 plays a crucial role in the assembly and maintenance of hemidesmosomes. Previous work has shown that the recruitment of plectin into hemidesmosomes is dependent on beta 4 and involves a region of the beta 4 cytoplasmic domain, which contains the first two fibronectin (FNIII) repeats and a short region of the connecting segment. Two missense mutations (R1225H and R1281W) in beta 4 that are responsible for nonlethal forms of epidermolysis bullosa are located in the second FNIII repeat. One of them is confined to a loop region that connects two beta strands (EC') whereas the other is located at the N-terminal end of the second FNIII repeat. We here report that these mutations render beta 4 unable to interact with plectin and prevent the localization of plectin in hemidesmosomes. Substitution of a lysine residue (K1279W) that forms part of the same loop as R1281 had no effect on the ability of beta 4 to recruit plectin. Furthermore, we show that an extended loop structure in beta 4, composed of the amino acids DDN (1262--1264), which resembles the RGD integrin-binding loop in fibronectin, is not involved in the binding to plectin. These results further demonstrate that binding of beta 4 to plectin is essential for the proper formation and function of hemidesmosomes and that loss of the interaction between beta 4 and plectin is associated with a mild form of epidermolysis bullosa.

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