Aberrant expression of integrin and erbB subunits in breast cancer cell lines

Int J Oncol. 2002 Nov;21(5):1073-9.


Integrin and growth factor receptors play an important role in cell functions and their aberrant expressions are implicated in breast cancer malignancy. Recent studies have shown that integrins physically and functionally associate with growth factor receptors suggesting the cooperative regulation of these two signals. We studied the expression of integrin and erbB subunits by flow cytometer in human normal mammary epithelial (HME) cell, non-metastatic (MCF-7, ZR-75-1, MDA-MB453) and metastatic tumor cell lines (MDA-MB231, MDA-MB435). Compared with HME cells, all of non-metastatic and metastatic cell lines showed decreased expressions of alpha2 and beta4 integrin subunits. Two metastatic cell lines, but not three non-metastatic tumor cell lines, expressed alpha5 and alpha6 comparable to HME cells. There was no correlation of erbB2 expression with integrin expressions. We isolated MDA-MB435 subpopulations expressing lower amount of alpha6 integrin and found that alpha5, but not alpha2 and alphav integrins, was concomitantly decreased while erbB family was not affected. Then we transfected erbB2 gene into MDA-MB435 and found the induction of erbB3 expression but not erbB1 and erbB4. However, erbB2 transfection had no effect on the expression of alpha6 and beta4 integrin subunits. These data suggest that the expression of alpha5 and alpha6 integrins may contribute to metastasis, and that the regulation of erbB2 and alpha6 integrin expressions is independent in breast cancer cells.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Integrins / analysis*
  • Integrins / physiology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis*
  • Receptor, ErbB-3 / analysis*
  • Receptor, ErbB-4
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Integrins
  • Protein Subunits
  • ERBB4 protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Receptor, ErbB-3
  • Receptor, ErbB-4