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Exp Cell Res. 1998 Mar 15;239(2):463-76.

Role of the bullous pemphigoid antigen 180 (BP180) in the assembly of hemidesmosomes and cell adhesion--reexpression of BP180 in generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa keratinocytes.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.


Bullous pemphigoid antigen 180 (BP180) is a transmembrane component of hemidesmosomes (HD), cell-substrate attachment complexes in stratified and complex epithelia. To determine the role of BP180 in the assembly of HD and cell adhesion, using SV40 virions we have immortalized BP180-deficient keratinocytes derived from a patient with the inherited skin blistering disorder generalized atrophic benign epidermolysis bullosa (GABEB). The GABEB keratinocytes form HD-like structures, which contain alpha 6 beta 4 integrin and HD1/plectin, but not the bullous pemphigoid antigen 230 (BP230). The expression of integrin subunits by GABEB keratinocytes was comparable to that of an immortalized normal human keratinocyte cell line (NHK), except for alpha 6 and beta 4, which were less strongly expressed in GABEB cells. In short-term adhesion assays, both GABEB keratinocytes and NHK bound strongly and to a similar extent to laminin-1, laminin-5, fibronectin, and type IV and V collagens, which suggests that BP180 is not involved in promoting the initial adhesion to these ligands. Transfection of GABEB keratinocytes with cDNAs for wild-type or a mutant of BP180 lacking the collagenous extracellular domain resulted in the expression of recombinant BP180 proteins that were correctly polarized at the basal cell surface together with alpha 6 beta 4. In addition, restored synthesis of BP180 affected the subcellular localization of BP230, which was no longer diffusely distributed in the cytoplasm, but was found in HD-like structures. In contrast, a BP180 mutant with a 36-amino-acid deletion from the amino terminus of the cytoplasmic domain failed to localize to HD-like structures. These results demonstrate that a region within the cytoplasmic domain of BP180 is essential for its localization into HD and that BP180 may play a critical role in coordinating the subcellular distribution of BP230.

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