Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), originally recognized as a host defense mechanism, were reported to promote thrombosis and metastatic dissemination of cancer cells. Here we tested the role of integrins α5β1 and αvβ3 in the adhesion of cancer cells to NETs. Neutrophil-like cells stimulated with calcium ionophore (A23187) were used as a stable source of cell-free NETs-enriched suspensions. Using NETs as an adhesion substrate, two human K562 cell lines, differentially expressing α5β1 and αvβ3 integrins, were subjected to adhesion assays in the presence or absence of DNAse 1, blocking antibodies against α5β1 or αvβ3, alone or in combination with DNAse 1, and Proteinase K. As expected DNAse 1 treatment strongly inhibited adhesion of both cell lines to NETs. An equivalent significant reduction of cell adhesion to NETs was obtained after treatment of cells with blocking antibodies against α5β1 or αvβ3 indicating that both integrins were able to mediate cell adhesion to NETs. Furthermore, the combination of DNAse 1 and anti-integrin antibody treatment almost completely blocked cell adhesion. Western blot analysis and immunoprecipitation experiments showed a dose-dependent increase of fibronectin levels in samples from stimulated neutrophil-like cells and a direct or indirect interaction of fibronectin with histone H3. Finally, co-immunolocalization studies with confocal microscopy showed that fibronectin and citrullinated histone H3 co-localize inside the web-structure of NETs. In conclusion, our study showed that α5β1 and αvβ3 integrins mediate cell adhesion to NETs by binding to their common substrate fibronectin. Therefore, in addition to mechanical trapping and aspecific adsorption of different cell types driven by DNA/histone complexes, NETs may provide specific binding sites for integrin-mediated cell adhesion of neutrophils, platelets, endothelial and cancer cells thus promoting intimate interactions among these cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)