Molecular biology of the cell

Laminin 511 partners with laminin 332 to mediate directional migration of Madin-Darby canine kidney epithelial cells.

PMID 22031290


Sustained directional migration of epithelial cells is essential for regeneration of injured epithelia. Front-rear polarity of migrating cells is determined by local activation of a signaling network involving Cdc42 and other factors in response to spatial cues from the environment, the nature of which are obscure. We examined the roles of laminin (LM)-511 and LM-332, two structurally different laminin isoforms, in the migration of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells by suppressing expression of their α subunits using RNA interference. We determined that knockdown of LM-511 inhibits directional migration and destabilizes cell-cell contacts, in part by disturbing the localization and activity of the polarization machinery. Suppression of integrin α3, a laminin receptor subunit, in cells synthesizing normal amounts of both laminins has a similar effect as knockdown of LM-511. Surprisingly, simultaneous suppression of both laminin α5 and laminin α3 restores directional migration and cell-cell contact stability, suggesting that cells recognize a haptotactic gradient formed by a combination of laminins.