Restricted distribution of integrin beta 6 mRNA in primate epithelial tissues

J Histochem Cytochem. 1993 Oct;41(10):1521-7. doi: 10.1177/41.10.8245410.


Integrins are cell adhesion receptors that mediate cell-extracellular matrix and cell-cell interactions. Each integrin consists of two glycoprotein subunits (alpha and beta). We have previously described a novel integrin beta-subunit, beta 6, which is expressed in cultured epithelial cells. beta 6 can associate with alpha v to form the fibronectin-binding heterodimer alpha v beta 6. Here we report the tissue distribution of beta 6 integrin mRNA determined by in situ hybridization of a beta 6 cRNA probe with representative frozen tissue sections from a rhesus monkey tissue bank. We detected beta 6 mRNA exclusively in epithelial cells. However, beta 6 mRNA expression varied greatly among different epithelia. High levels of beta 6 mRNA were found only in two very specialized epithelial cell types: a portion of the kidney tubule epithelium, termed macula densa, and the endometrial epithelium of secretory phase uterus. In the endometrium, beta 6 expression was highest in the differentiated epithelium of functional layer glands, suggesting that beta 6 expression can be regulated in a differentiation-dependent manner. beta 6 expression may also depend on the stage in the estrous cycle, since we found much lower beta 6 mRNA levels in a specimen of proliferative phase endometrium. Epithelium in several other tissues, including salivary gland ducts, gall bladder, and epididymis, contained detectable levels of beta 6 mRNA, albeit much lower than in macula densa and endometrium. In other epithelia, including skin and lung, beta 6 mRNA was undetectable. Taken together, these results suggest that in normal adult primates beta 6 expression is regulated in a cell type-specific manner, restricted to a few epithelial tissues.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Endometrium / chemistry
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Female
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Integrin beta Chains*
  • Integrins / genetics*
  • Kidney Tubules / chemistry
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Integrin beta Chains
  • Integrins
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • integrin beta6