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

During human thymic development, beta 1 integrins regulate adhesion, motility, and the outcome of RHAMM/hyaluronan engagement.

During human thymic differentiation, interactions between fibronectin (Fn)/beta1 integrins and hyaluronan (HA)/RHAMM control motility and Fn/beta1 integrins mediate spontaneous Fn-dependent adhesion. Multinegative (MN, CD3-4-8-) thymocytes exhibit strong spontaneous adherence to Fn (75%) that was efficiently inhibited by anti-alpha5beta1 and only weakly inhibited by anti-alpha4beta1. The relatively weak adherence of unfractionated thymocytes to Fn required both alpha4beta1 and alpha5beta1. Video time-lapse microscopy indicates that a subset of thymocytes also undergo spontaneous Fn-dependent motility mediated by alpha5beta1, alpha4beta1, and the HA-receptor RHAMM, but not by CD44. The loss of motility after hyaluronidase treatment of thymocytes indicated that motility is strongly dependent on HA. Of motile cells, 55% were DP, 19% were DN, and 24% were CD4+SP, but only 1% were CD8+SP. Overall, for MN thymocytes, beta1 integrin mediated Fn-adhesion, but after expression of CD4/CD8, beta1 integrins mediated Fn-dependent motility. Treatment with the activating anti-beta1 mAb QE.2E5 inhibited thymic motility and converted otherwise nonadherent thymocytes to an adherent state. High-avidity interactions via integrins appear to supercede the motogenicity of RHAMM and HA, suggesting that integrin avidity may regulate RHAMM. During thymic development, changes in adhesion or motility appear to be mediated by integrin avidity modulation.[1]


  1. During human thymic development, beta 1 integrins regulate adhesion, motility, and the outcome of RHAMM/hyaluronan engagement. Gares, S.L., Giannakopoulos, N., MacNeil, D., Faull, R.J., Pilarski, L.M. J. Leukoc. Biol. (1998) [Pubmed]
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