The α3β1 integrin is associated with mammary carcinoma cell metastasis, invasion, and gelatinase B (MMP-9) activity

Monica Morini, Marcella Mottolese, Nicoletta Ferrari, Federica Ghiorzo, Simonetta Buglioni, Roberta Mortarini, Douglas M. Noonan, Pier Giorgio Natali, Adriana Albini

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The α3β1 integrin is elevated in several types of metastatic tumor and has been associated with increased migration and invasion. Our analysis of a series of mammary carcinomas of different histotypes and their corresponding metastases demonstrated significantly increased expression of α3β1 in the tumor metastases. We therefore studied α3β1 expression of several human breast carcinoma cell lines and its association with the invasive phenotype. The MDA-MB-231 cell line expressed high levels of the β1, α2, α3, α5, and α6 integrin subunits along with moderate levels of the αvβ3 integrin. This line was highly migratory and the most invasive using a chemo-invasion assay. In contrast, the other lines tested, MDA-MB-145, MCF-7, and SK-BR-3, showed lower migratory and invasive activity and reduced α3 integrin subunit expression. Metalloproteases capable of degrading collagen IV are necessary for the invasive process. RT-PCR showed that MDA-MB-231 cells expressed MMP- 9, but not MMP-2, gelatinase/collagenase IV. Gelatin zymography demonstrated that invading MDA-MB-231 cells released high levels of MMP-9 gelatinase activity. A direct role for this gelatinase in MDA-MB-231 cell invasion was confirmed by inhibition of invasion using the metalloprotease inhibitor Batimastat. Treatment of MDA-MB-231 cells with a function-blocking anti-α3 antibody strongly inhibited migration and invasion. This correlated with a marked reduction in MMP-9 activity produced by MDA-MB-231 cells, suggesting a role for α3β1 ligand binding in cell signaling and regulation of extracellular matrix degradation. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-342
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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