Integrin receptors of human melanocytes in vivo and of melanocytes isolated and cultured from in vitro reconstituted normal human epidermis were investigated. Melanocytes were studied by high-resolution immunocytochemistry of in situ epidermis and were found to expose only the integrin subunits alpha 3, alpha 6, alpha v and beta 1 on their plasma membrane surface. Instead, cultured normal melanocytes expressed alpha 3 beta 1, alpha 5 beta 1, alpha 6 beta 1 and alpha v beta 3, which were immunoprecipitated from both metabolically and surface-labeled cells. Beta 1 integrins were diffused on the adhesion surface, while alpha v beta 3 was clustered in focal contacts both in control cells and upon dendrite induction with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). The functional roles of integrins were studied in vitro by cell adhesion, spreading and migration assays. The sum of the data indicated that, in normal human melanocytes: (i) adhesion to defined substrata is mainly mediated by specific beta 1 integrins; (ii) spreading is mainly modulated by alpha v beta 3; (iii) the beta 1 and beta 3 heterodimers cooperate in regulating migration. The in vitro expression of two integrins (alpha v beta 3 and alpha 5 beta 1) that are not exposed in situ, and their role in the spreading and migratory properties of melanocytes, strongly suggest that they are involved in regenerating a normally pigmented epidermis during wound healing by controlling melanocyte spreading and migration over a provisional matrix. Tumor promoters, such as PMA, selectively increased the expression of alpha 3 beta 1. We suggest that this integrin might be involved in melanocyte migration on the newly formed basement membrane during wound healing as well as in intercellular recognition of adjacent keratinocytes.
Expression of integrin receptors and their role in adhesion, spreading and migration of normal human melanocytes / Zambruno, G; Marchisio, P. C; Melchiori, A; Bondanza, S; Cancedda, R; DE LUCA, Michele. - In: JOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE. - ISSN 0021-9533. - STAMPA. - 105 ( Pt 1):(1993), pp. 179-190.