UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cancer Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Actins; Animals; Antigens, Surface; Cell Movement; Cytoskeleton; Humans; Integrin alpha6beta4; Integrins; Laminin; Pseudopodia; Tumor Cells, Cultured


Cancer Biology | Neoplasms


Functional studies on the alpha6beta4 integrin have focused primarily on its role in the organization of hemidesmosomes, stable adhesive structures that associate with the intermediate filament cytoskeleton. In this study, we examined the function of the alpha6beta4 integrin in clone A cells, a colon carcinoma cell line that expresses alpha6beta4 but no alpha6beta1 integrin and exhibits dynamic adhesion and motility on laminin-1. Time-lapse videomicroscopy of clone A cells on laminin-1 revealed that their migration is characterized by filopodial extension and stabilization followed by lamellae that extend in the direction of stabilized filopodia. A function-blocking mAb specific for the alpha6beta4 integrin inhibited clone A migration on laminin-1. This mAb also inhibited filopodial formation and stabilization and lamella formation. Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that the alpha6beta4 integrin is localized as discrete clusters in filopodia, lamellae, and retraction fibers. Although beta1 integrins were also localized in the same structures, a spatial separation of these two integrin populations was evident. In filopodia and lamellae, a striking colocalization of the alpha6beta4 integrin and F-actin was seen. An association between alpha6beta4 and F-actin is supported by the fact that alpha6beta4 integrin and actin were released from clone A cells by treatment with the F-actin- severing protein gelsolin and that alpha6beta4 immunostaining at the marginal edges of clone A cells on laminin-1 was resistant to solubilization with Triton X-100. Cytokeratins were not observed in filopodia and lamellipodia. Moreover, alpha6beta4 was extracted from these marginal edges with a Tween-40/deoxycholate buffer that solubilizes the actin cytoskeleton but not cytokeratins. Three other carcinoma cell lines (MIP-101, CCL-228, and MDA-MB-231) exhibited alpha6beta4 colocalized with actin in filopodia and lamellae. Formation of lamellae in these cells was inhibited with an alpha6-specific antibody. Together, these results indicate that the alpha6beta4 integrin functions in carcinoma migration on laminin-1 through its ability to promote the formation and stabilization of actin-containing motility structures.

DOI of Published Version



J Cell Biol. 1997 Dec 29;139(7):1873-84. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of cell biology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID