Keratinocytes attach to an underlying basement membrane by adhesion junctions called hemidesmosomes. We have characterized a cell line, RAC-11P/SD, established from a murine mammary tumor, which differentiates into squamous epithelium and forms well defined hemidesmosomes. These hemidesmosomes contain the integrin alpha 6 beta 4 as well as the hemidesmosomal plaque proteins BP230 and HD1 and are associated with a matrix containing kalinin and laminin. We examined how these cells adhere to laminin and to kalinin present in matrices as well as immunopurified kalinin. We show that adhesion to laminin is energy dependent but does not require an intact actin-containing cytoskeleton. The affinity for kalinin proved to be greater and binding to kalinin was still observed when cells had been treated with deoxyglucose and azide to inhibit metabolic energy. Binding to laminin (or fragment E8), but not to kalinin was partially blocked by a monoclonal antibody specific for the integrin alpha 6 subunit, and only in the initial phase of adhesion. The antibody efficiently blocked adhesion to laminin of cells treated with the microfilament disrupting drug cytochalasin B, but only partially blocked the adhesion of cytochalasin B-treated cells to kalinin, while adherence of cells treated with deoxyglucose and azide to kalinin was blocked completely. The integrin alpha 6 beta 4 is redistributed to the basal surface during adhesion and then is organized into ring-like structures when cells are bound to laminin and localized into hemidesmosomes in cells adhered to kalinin. We suggest that anti-alpha 6 hinders the binding of the alpha 6 beta 4 integrins to its ligands laminin and kalinin, but cannot prevent adhesion when clustering of the integrin has become complete. In addition, there is evidence that adhesion to kalinin is mediated by a second receptor, which associates with the actin-containing cytoskeleton. The presence of such a second receptor is suggested because the cells can spread on kalinin, but not when they have been treated with cytochalasin B. On laminin spreading does not occur, irrespective of whether cells have been treated with cytochalasin B or not. The integrin alpha 3 beta 1, which has been identified as a receptor for kalinin but not for laminin, is strongly expressed in RAC-11P/SD cells and it seems likely that this integrin is responsible for spreading of cells on kalinin.
- © 1993 by Company of Biologists