ML Tenchini, JC Adams, C Gilberty, J Steel, DL Hudson, M Malcovati, FM Watt
Cell Adhes Commun
It is well established that integrins mediate keratinocyte adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins, but, in addition, there is some evidence that they mediate intercellular adhesion. We have investigated the role of integrins in keratinocyte-keratinocyte adhesion by adding anti-integrin antibodies to cells in three assays that differ according to the calcium ion concentration of the medium, the presence or absence of an adhesive substrate (glass or tissue culture plastic) and the timing of antibody addition. As previously reported by Larjava et al., (J. Cell Biol. 110:803-815), a monoclonal antibody to the beta 1 subunit perturbed cell-cell adhesion when added to adherent monolayers in low calcium medium (0.1 mM calcium ions), but did not prevent cell-cell adhesion or stratification induced by raising the level of calcium ions to 1.8mM (the concentration in standard medium). Monoclonal antibodies to both the alpha 3 and beta 1 subunits inhibited the attachment, spreading and motility of keratinocytes in low or standard calcium medium when added at the time of plating; however, they had only a modest effect on the accumulation of cells in adherent clusters. Aggregation of keratinocytes in suspension required a calcium ion concentration of greater than 0.1mM and was not inhibited by any of a large panel of anti-integrin antibodies, including three new antibodies that recognise alpha 2 beta 1. We conclude that any inhibitory effects of individual anti-integrin antibodies on cell-cell adhesion are abrogated by a calcium ion concentration above 0.1mM and that in low calcium medium at least some of the inhibition of cell-cell adhesion is a consequence of the inhibition of cell-substrate adhesion and motility.