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

Differential expression of alpha 6 and alpha 2 very late antigen integrins in the normal, hyperplastic, and neoplastic prostate: simultaneous demonstration of cell surface receptors and their extracellular ligands.

The very late antigens (VLAs) are alpha beta-heterodimeric transmembrane proteins that include surface cell receptors for laminin (VLA-6) and collagen (VLA-2), which mediate cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion. We investigated the distribution of VLA-6 (alpha 6, beta 1) and VLA-2 (alpha 2, beta 1) proteins in normal, hyperplastic, and neoplastic human prostate tissue and lymph node metastases by the avidin-biotin complex method. In normal and hyperplastic glands we observed two staining patterns that differed according to the density of alpha 6- and alpha 2-receptors at the site of co-expression with their corresponding ligands (laminin, type IV collagen) in acinar basement membranes (BMs). Band-like deposits with high receptor density suggested strong anchorage of the prostate epithelium to acinar BMs, whereas the absence of this pattern most probably reflected reduced cellular attachment. Very late antigen-6 immunoreactivity showed the band-like pattern in approximately 70% of normal and hyperplastic glands compared with VLA-2, which showed the same pattern in only 5% of cases. In prostatic adenocarcinoma the band-like pattern significantly decreased with dedifferentiation and was consistently absent in grade III lesions. Compared with staining intensities in normal and hyperplastic conditions, grade I and II tumors maintained or overexpressed the VLA-6 receptor in 85% of cases, whereas the VLA-2 receptor was downregulated in approximately 70% of cases. Grade III tumors were characterized by a heterogeneous expression of VLA-6 and VLA-2 proteins, but frequently upregulated their receptors in corresponding lymph node metastases. Regardless of the staining intensity, all primary and metastatic carcinomas investigated expressed VLA-6 and VLA-2 receptors whose extracellular domains were extensively co-expressed with their ligands in neoplastic BM formations. These findings suggest that VLA-6 and VLA-2 receptors mediate attachment of tumor cells to neoplastic BM material, which, in turn, may endow these cells with an increased ability to invade the extracellular matrix.[1]


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