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A minimal region on the integrin beta4 subunit that is critical to its localization in hemidesmosomes regulates the distribution of HD1/plectin in COS-7 cells
C.M. Niessen, E.H. Hulsman, L.C. Oomen, I. Kuikman, A. Sonnenberg


The integrin alpha6 beta4 is a major component of hemidesmosomes, in which it mediates firm adhesion to laminin 5. Previous studies have shown that the incorporation of alpha6 beta4 into hemidesmosomes requires a 303 amino acid stretch of the cytoplasmic domain of beta4, comprising part of the first fibronectin type III (FNIII) repeat, the second FNIII repeat and the segment that connects the second to the third FNIII repeat (connecting segment). Now, we have further defined sequences within beta4 that are critical for its localization in hemidesmosomes and we demonstrate that these sequences also induce the redistribution of HD1/plectin into junctional complexes containing the integrin alpha6 beta4 in COS-7 cells, transfected with cDNAs encoding alpha6A and beta4. Truncation of the cytoplasmic domain of beta4 after amino acids 1,382 or 1,355 in the connecting segment, by which a potential tyrosine activation motif (TAM) is removed, does not prevent the localization of alpha6 beta4 in hemidesmosomes in the rat bladder carcinoma cell line 804G and neither did it eliminate the ability of alpha6 beta4 to change the subcellular distribution of HD1/plectin in COS-7 cells. In contrast, beta4 subunits in which the entire connecting segment had been deleted or which were truncated after amino acid 1,328, which removes almost the complete segment, had lost both of these functions. Furthermore, when beta4 subunits with either a deletion of the second FNIII repeat or a small deletion in this repeat were co-expressed with alpha6, the integrins were not localized in hemidesmosomes and did not induce the redistribution of HD1/plectin in COS-7 cells. Finally, the fourth FNIII repeat of beta4 could not replace the second in either of these activities. These findings establish that a region in beta4, which encompasses the second FNIII repeat and a stretch of 27 amino acids (1,329-1,355) of the connecting segment, is critical for the localization of alpha6beta4 in hemidesmosomes and that it regulates the distribution of HD1/plectin.