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Int J Cancer. 2005 Jul 10;115(5):724-33.

Ly6 family member C4.4A binds laminins 1 and 5, associates with galectin-3 and supports cell migration.

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Department of Tumor Progression and Tumor Defense, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.


C4.4A is a member of the Ly6 family, with low homology to uPAR. It has been detected mainly on metastasizing carcinoma cells and proposed to be involved in wound healing. So far, C4.4A has been observed as an orphan receptor, and its functional activity has not been explored. Using recombinant rat C4.4A (rrC4.4A) made in a eukaryotic expression system, we demonstrate by immunohistology that C4.4A ligands are strongly expressed in tissues adjacent to squamous epithelia of, e.g., tongue and esophagus, the expression pattern partly overlapping with laminin (LN) and complementing the C4.4A expression that is found predominantly on the basal layers of squamous epithelium. ELISA screening of several components of the extracellular matrix revealed selective binding of rrC4.4A to LN1 and LN5 and that transfection of the BSp73AS tumor line with C4.4A cDNA (BSp73AS-1B1) promoted LN1 and LN5 binding. Binding of BSp73AS-1B1 to LN5 and, less markedly, LN1 induced spreading, lamellipodia formation and migration. C4.4A also associates with galectin-3 in nontransformed tissues and tumor lines. There is evidence that the association of C4.4A with galectin-3 influences LN adhesion. C4.4A was described originally as a metastasis-associated molecule. Our findings that LN1 and LN5 are C4.4A ligands, that galectin-3 associates with C4.4A and that C4.4A ligand binding confers a migratory phenotype are well in line with the supposed metastasis association.

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