Integrin α6/β4 complex is located in hemidesmosomes, suggesting a major role in epidermal cell-basement membrane adhesion

Arnoud Sonnenberg, Jero Calafat, Hans Janssen, Henny Daams, Liesbeth M H Van Der Raaij-Helmer, Rita Falcioni, Stephen J. Kennel, John D. Aplin, Janice Baker, Marilena Loizidou, David Garrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The α6/β4 complex is a member of the integrin family of adhesion receptors. It is found on a variety of epithelial cell types, but is most strongly expressed on stratified squamous epithelia. Fluorescent antibody staining of human epidermis suggests that the β4 subunit is strongly localized to the basal region showing a similar distribution to that of the 230-kD bullous pemphigoid antigen. The α6 subunit is also strongly localized to the basal region but in addition is present over the entire surfaces of basal cells and some cells in the immediate suprabasal region. By contrast staining for β1, α2, and α3 subunits was very weak basally, but strong on all other surfaces of basal epidermal cells. These results suggest that different integrin complexes play differing roles in cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion in the epidermis. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that the α6/β4 complex at the basal epidermal surface is strongly localized to hemidesmosomes. This result provides the first well-characterized monoclonal antibody markers for hemidesmosomes and suggests that the α6/β4 complex plays a major role in epidermal cell-basement membrane adhesion. We suggest that the cytoplasmic domains of these transmembrane glycoproteins may contribute to the structure of hemidesmosomal plaques. Immunoultrastructural localization of the BP antigen suggests that it may be involved in bridging between hemidesmosomal plaques and keratin intermediate filaments of the cytoskeleton.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-917
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Volume113
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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