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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CD44 stimulation induces integrin- mediated adhesion of colon cancer cell lines to endothelial cells by up-regulation of integrins and c-Met and activation of integrins.

For cancer metastasis, tumor cells present in the circulation must first adhere to the endothelium. Integrins lymphocyte function-associated antigen (LFA) 1 and very late antigen 4 play a central role in leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium and subsequent migration into tissues. The majority of tumor cells derived from solid cancers including colorectal cancer do not express suitable adhesion receptors, LFA-1 and very late antigen 4. We investigated the mechanisms of adhesion and transendothelial migration of cancer cells using colorectal carcinoma cell lines. Our results showed the following novel features of CD44 on the cells: (a) colon cancer cells express high levels of CD44; (b) stimulation of cancer cells by CD44 cross-linking or fragmented hyaluronan markedly induces the expression of LFA-1s, some of which reveal an activation epitope on the cells; (c) CD44 cross-linking induces F-actin polymerization in the cell cortex; (d) fragmented hyaluronan induces up-regulation of the activation epitope of LFA-1, which is mediated through protein kinase C; (e) stimulation of CD44 augments the LFA-1-mediated adhesion of cancer cells to endothelial cells and intercellular adhesion molecule 1-transfected cells and facilitates transendothelial migration; (f) stimulation of CD44 also induces expression of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor c-Met on cancer cells; and (g) HGF further amplifies the LFA-1- mediated adhesion of cells prestimulated by CD44-derived signaling. Our results indicated that stimulation by CD44 induces "outside-in signaling," which consists of a direct pathway via CD44 and an alternate pathway through the induction of c-Met expression via HGF. Such stimuli augment the expression and trigger the function of integrins via "inside-out signaling" in colon cancer cells, which leads to amplification of integrin-mediated adhesion to the vessel wall and subsequent transendothelial migration.[1]


  1. CD44 stimulation induces integrin-mediated adhesion of colon cancer cell lines to endothelial cells by up-regulation of integrins and c-Met and activation of integrins. Fujisaki, T., Tanaka, Y., Fujii, K., Mine, S., Saito, K., Yamada, S., Yamashita, U., Irimura, T., Eto, S. Cancer Res. (1999) [Pubmed]
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