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J Biol Chem. 1990 Mar 5;265(7):4020-4.

Affinity chromatographic isolation of the melanoma adhesion receptor for the IIICS region of fibronectin and its identification as the integrin alpha 4 beta 1.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Manchester Medical School, United Kingdom.


Eukaryotic cells adhere to at least two different regions of the fibronectin molecule: a central domain present in all fibronectin isoforms, and the type III connecting segment domain (IIICS), the expression of which is controlled by complex alternative splicing of precursor mRNA. Using affinity chromatography on a matrix containing a synthetic peptide ligand (CS1) representing the strongest active site within the IIICS, we have isolated the human melanoma cell receptor recognizing this region of fibronectin. The receptor is a complex of two polypeptides with subunit molecular masses of 145 and 125 kDa. This heterodimeric structure resembles that of receptors for other extracellular matrix proteins. Immunological analysis with specific antibodies identified these polypeptides as the integrin subunits alpha 4 and beta 1. In addition, antifunctional monoclonal antibodies directed against either alpha 4 or beta 1, but not against other integrin subunits, were potent inhibitors of CS1-mediated melanoma cell spreading. Furthermore, when the function of the central cell-binding domain was blocked, anti-alpha 4 and anti-beta 1 antibodies abolished spreading of A375-M cells on fibronectin, indicating that alpha 4 beta 1 is an authentic fibronectin receptor. Taken together, these results identify the human fibronectin IIICS receptor as the integrin heterodimer alpha 4 beta 1.

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