Endocytosis of beta1 integrins is an early event in migration promoted by the cell adhesion molecule L1

Exp Cell Res. 2006 Feb 1;312(3):299-307. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2005.10.031. Epub 2005 Dec 5.


Directional cell motility is a complex process requiring orchestration of signals from diverse cell adhesion receptors for proper organization of neuronal groups in the brain. The L1 cell adhesion molecule potentiates integrin-dependent migration of neuronal cells and stimulates integrin endocytosis but its mechanism of action is unclear. The hypothesis was investigated that L1 stimulates cell motility by modulating surface levels of integrins through intracellular trafficking using a model cell system. Antibody-induced clustering of L1, which mimics ligand binding, induced formation of cell surface complexes of L1 and beta1 integrins in L1-expressing HEK293 cells. L1 formed cell surface complexes with integrin beta1 and alpha3 subunits but not with integrin alpha1. Following cell surface clustering, beta1 integrins and L1 became rapidly internalized into Rab5+ early endosomes. Internalization of L1 and beta1 integrins was prevented by treatment with monodansyl cadaverine (MDC), an inhibitor of clathrin-dependent endocytosis, and by deletion of the AP2/clathrin binding motif (RSLE) from the L1 cytoplasmic domain. MDC treatment coordinately inhibited L1-potentiated haptotactic migration of HEK293 cells to fibronectin in Transwell assays. These results suggested that downregulation of adhesive complexes of L1 and beta1 integrin at the plasma membrane by clathrin-mediated endocytosis is a potential mechanism for enhancing cell motility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadaverine / pharmacology
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clathrin / metabolism
  • Coated Pits, Cell-Membrane / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Endocytosis*
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha1 / metabolism
  • Integrin beta1 / metabolism*
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / pharmacology*
  • Transcription Factor AP-2 / metabolism


  • Clathrin
  • Fibronectins
  • Integrin alpha1
  • Integrin beta1
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • Transcription Factor AP-2
  • Cadaverine