VLA-6 (α6β1) integrin represents the major receptor for interaction with laminin substrate. It has been proposed that VLA-6 mediates tumor cell adhesion to the endothelium during extravasation. We have further explored this possibility using mouse melanoma B16F1 cells, which express VLA-6 as the principal laminin receptor, and two VLA-6 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), MA6 and GoH3. Adhesion is a prerequisite of cell movement on matrix proteins. Thus, GoH3, which inhibited VLA-6-mediated adhesion, blocked cell movement on laminin. The recently prepared α6 integrin-specific mAb MA6 bound to an epitope in close proximity to GoH3, but it had no effect on VLA-6-mediated cell adhesion. We report here that although MA6 did not affect adhesion, it blocked mouse melanoma B16F1 cell movement on laminin to the same extent as GoH3. Results therefore demonstrate an active role of VLA-6 in providing cell movement as well as the initial adhesive event on laminin. In addition, mAb MA6 had no effect on the induction of tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase upon adhesion of B16F1 cells to laminin. Therefore, inhibition of cell movement by MA6 involved mechanism(s) other than an interference of VLA-6 signaling events leading to phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase. The epitopes of GoH3 and MA6 may represent spatially and temporally related sites on VLA-6 that are involved during cell movement, or, alternatively, MA6 may inhibit the interaction of VLA-6 with associated cell surface molecules required for cell movement. In vivo videomicroscopy experiments also revealed that an inhibition of VLA-6 migratory function by MA6 resulted in a reduction in the ability of B16F1 to extravasate during hematogenous metastasis in the liver.


Supported by the Medical Research Council of Canada (B. M. C. C.), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (B. M. C. C.), and the Cancer Research Society and Academic Development Fund of the University of Western Ontario (V. L. M. and B. M. C. C.).

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