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Lab Invest. 1994 Oct;71(4):567-74.

Keratinocytes from junctional epidermolysis bullosa do adhere and migrate on the basement membrane protein nicein through alpha 3 beta 1 integrin.

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Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Protéines CNRS U 412, Lyon, France.



Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) encompasses several genodermatoses characterized by skin blistering, and possibly disturbed wound healing. Although the molecular defects underlying JEB are not known, we have demonstrated previously that nicein, an adhesive laminin-related basement membrane component, is immunologically altered in the very severe JEB of Herlitz type (H-JEB), and was expressed to a lesser extent in skin from patients with inversa JEB (I-JEB). In this study, we assessed adhesion and migration of H-JEB and I-JEB keratinocytes on exogenous nicein and laminin to get insights on the biologic function defective in JEB skin.


Adhesion of cultured epidermal keratinocytes from H-JEB and I-JEB patients was assayed by quantitation of cell attachment 1 hour after seeding into microtiter wells coated with nicein or laminin. Cell migration and modulation by function-blocking antibodies to integrins was quantified by computer-assisted image analysis of the tracks left by the cells in a phagokinetic assay using gold particles coated with nicein or laminin.


In spite of the fact that H-JEB keratinocytes do not produce normal immunoreactive nicein, they were able to adhere on exogenous nicein similarly to normal and I-JEB keratinocytes which produce nicein. Adhesion of both JEB and normal keratinocytes to laminin was weak compared with nicein. At low and high concentrations of nicein, a reduced migration response occurred with H-JEB keratinocytes whereas I-JEB cells behaved like their normal counterparts. Integrin alpha 3 beta 1 was dominantly involved in adhesion and migration of all these cells. Laminin did not support the migration of either JEB or normal keratinocytes.


H-JEB and I-JEB keratinocytes which produce no or less nicein than normal keratinocytes are able to adhere and migrate on exogenous nicein. Integrin alpha 3 beta 1 which is specifically involved in migration and adhesion of keratinocytes on nicein does not appear altered in JEB. These data indicate that defective nicein rather than modifications of the nicein-recognizing receptor play a central role in the pathogenesis of H-JEB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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