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J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Feb;132(2):448-57. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.297. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Fibronectin expression determines skin cell motile behavior.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


Mouse keratinocytes migrate significantly slower than their human counterparts in vitro on uncoated surfaces. We tested the hypothesis that this is a consequence of differences in the extracellular matrix (ECM) that cells deposit. In support of this, human keratinocyte motility was markedly reduced when plated onto the ECM of mouse skin cells, whereas the latter cells migrated faster when plated onto human keratinocyte ECM. The ECM of mouse and human keratinocytes contained similar levels of the α3 laminin subunit of laminin-332. However, mouse skin cells expressed significantly more fibronectin (FN) than human cells. To assess whether FN is a motility regulator, we used small interfering RNA (siRNA) to reduce the expression of FN in mouse keratinocytes. The treated mouse keratinocytes moved significantly more rapidly than wild-type mouse skin cells. Moreover, the FN-depleted mouse cell ECM supported increased migration of both mouse and human keratinocytes. Furthermore, the motility of human keratinocytes was slowed when plated onto FN-coated substrates or human keratinocyte ECM supplemented with FN in a dose-dependent manner. Consistent with these findings, the ECM of α3 integrin-null keratinocytes, which also migrated faster than wild-type cells, was FN deficient. Our results provide evidence that FN is a brake to skin cell migration supported by laminin-332-rich matrices.

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