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J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 4;280(9):8004-15. Epub 2004 Dec 3.

Integrin alpha6beta4-erbB2 complex inhibits haptotaxis by up-regulating E-cadherin cell-cell junctions in keratinocytes.

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Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Keratinocyte integrins alpha6beta4 and alpha3beta1 bind laminin-5, a component of basement membranes. We previously demonstrated that in keratinocytes, haptotactic migration on laminin-5 was stimulated by anti-beta1 integrin-activating antibody TS2/16, whereas antibodies to alpha6 and beta4, respectively, blocked TS2/16-induced, alpha3beta1-dependent migration. Moreover, alpha6beta4-associated haptotaxis inhibition was linked to a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway and required erbB2 activation. erbB2, the ligand-less member of the epidermal growth factor receptor family, was shown to form a complex with the hemidesmosomal integrin alpha6beta4. Here, we demonstrate that alpha6beta4 inhibitory effects on haptotaxis are abolished by an anti-E-cadherin antibody, which interferes with cell-cell adhesion. Furthermore, antibodies to alpha6 and beta4 stimulated adhesion to an E-cadherin-Fc recombinant protein. In addition, anti-alpha6/beta4 antibodies increased colony size in plated cells, stimulated cell-cell aggregation, and up-regulated E-cadherin localization to cell-cell contacts. These effects were abolished when erbB2 or PI3K were blocked. These results indicate that stimulation of alpha6beta4 increases E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion and that this mechanism depends on erbB2 activation. The molecule that links alpha6beta4 with E-cadherin may be the small GTPase cdc42, an effector of PI3K, because dominant-negative cdc42 abolished the inhibitory effect of anti-alpha6/beta4 antibodies and increased basal migration, whereas constitutively active cdc42 prevented the TS2/16-induced increase in haptotaxis. These findings suggest a model whereby alpha6beta4 can augment cell-cell adhesion and slow down haptotaxis over laminin-5 and point to the alpha6beta4-erbB2 heterodimer as an important signaling complex for the formation of cohesive keratinocyte layers.

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