Functional down-regulation of alpha 5 beta 1 integrin in keratinocytes is reversible but commitment to terminal differentiation is not

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Extracellular matrix receptors of the integrin family have a dual role in the epidermis, regulating both adhesion and differentiation. Loss of contact with the extracellular matrix causes keratinocytes to become committed to terminal differentiation, and results in a decrease in the ability of the alpha 5 beta 1 integrin to bind fibronectin. We have investigated whether the decrease in ligand-binding ability is reversible and, if so, whether commitment to terminal differentiation can also be reversed. Keratinocytes that had been placed in suspension for 5 hours to induce commitment were compared with the starting population (0 hour cells) in the presence or absence of 8A2, an activating anti-beta 1 antibody. 8A2 IgG or FAb fragments increased the amount of alpha 5 beta 1 in cell extracts that bound to fibronectin-Sepharose and in the presence of 8A2 the amount of bound alpha 5 beta 1 in 0 hour and 5 hour extracts was equal. 8A2 also restored alpha 5 beta 1 function in adhesion assays of intact 5 hour cells. Ca2+, Mg2+ and Mn2+ alone, at concentrations of up to 1 mM, did not increase the adhesiveness of 5 hour cells relative to 0 hour cells; however, the effect of 8A2 on keratinocytes was dependent on Ca2+. Although 8A2 restored alpha 5 beta 1 ligand-binding ability it did not prevent committed cells from withdrawing from the cell cycle and expressing involucrin, a differentiation marker.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Volume106 ( Pt 4)
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • keratinocytes, integrins, differentiation, cell adhesion, ECM