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J Cell Sci. 2012 Mar 15;125(Pt 6):1478-87. doi: 10.1242/jcs.093963. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

CD151 restricts the α6 integrin diffusion mode.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Laminin-binding integrins (α3β1, α6β1, α6β4, α7β1) are almost always expressed together with tetraspanin CD151. In every coexpressing cell analyzed to date, CD151 makes a fundamental contribution to integrin-dependent motility, invasion, morphology, adhesion and/or signaling. However, there has been minimal mechanistic insight into how CD151 affects integrin functions. In MDA-MB-231 mammary cells, tetraspanin CD151 knockdown impairs α6 integrin clustering and functions without decreasing α6 integrin expression or activation. Furthermore, CD151 knockdown minimally affects the magnitude of α6 integrin diffusion, as measured using single particle tracking. Instead, CD151 knockdown has a novel and unexpected dysregulating effect on the mode of α6 integrin diffusion. In control cells α6 integrin shows mostly random-confined diffusion (RCD) and some directed motion (DMO). In sharp contrast, in CD151-knockdown cells α6 integrin shows mostly DMO. In control cells α6 diffusion mode is sensitive to actin disruption, talin knockdown and phorbol ester stimulation. By contrast, CD151 knockdown cell α6 integrin is sensitive to actin disruption but desensitized to talin knockdown or phorbol ester stimulation, indicating dysregulation. Both phorbol ester and EGF stimulate cell spreading and promote α6 RCD in control cells. By contrast, CD151-ablated cells retain EGF effects but lose phorbol-ester-stimulated spreading and α6 RCD. For α6 integrins, physical association with CD151 promotes α6 RCD, in support of α6-mediated cable formation and adhesion. By comparison, for integrins not associated with CD151 (e.g. αv integrins), CD151 affects neither diffusion mode nor αv function. Hence, CD151 support of α6 RCD is specific and functionally relevant, and probably underlies diverse CD151 functions in skin, kidney and cancer cells.

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