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J Cell Biochem. 1998 Dec 15;71(4):536-45.

Regulated expression of the integrin alpha9beta1 in the epithelium of the developing human gut and in intestinal cell lines: relation with cell proliferation.

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Centre de recherche en biologie du développement des épithéliums et Thématique de physiopathologie digestive du Centre de recherche clinique du CUSE, Département d'anatomie et de biologie cellulaire, Faculté de médecine, Un.


The integrin alpha9beta1 is one of the recently identified integrins whose expression is restricted to specialized tissues. Its exact function is still unknown. In the present study, we have analyzed the expression of the alpha9 subunit in human fetal and adult small intestinal and colonic epithelia as well as in intestinal cell lines by indirect immunofluorescence, immunoprecipitation, Western blot, and Northern blot. In intact tissues, the antigen was restricted to the basolateral domain of epithelial cells in intestinal crypts at the fetal stage and was absent in the adult. The alpha9beta1 integrin was also detected in the intestinal cell lines HIEC-6 and Caco-2/15. The presence of alpha9beta1 in HIEC-6 was found to be consistent with their proliferative crypt-like status. In Caco-2/15 cells, the integrin was present at high levels in proliferating cells but was downregulated when cells cease to grow and undertake their differentiation. EGF treatment, which is known to maintain Caco-2/15 cells in a proliferative state, resulted in higher levels of alpha9 as compared to control cells. Taken together, these observations suggest a relation between integrin alpha9beta1 expression and proliferation in human intestinal cells.

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