Background: Integrins are heterodimeric cell adhesion molecules, with 18 α (ITGA) and eight β (ITGB) subunits forming 24 heterodimers classified into five families. Certain integrins, especially the α4/α9 (ITGA4/ITGA9) family, interact with members of the ADAM (a disintegrin and metalloprotease) family. ADAM2 is among the better characterized and also of interest because of its role in sperm function. Having shown that ITGA9 on mouse eggs participates in mouse sperm-egg interactions, we sought to characterize ITGA4/ITGA9-ADAM2 interactions. Methodology/Principal Findings: An anti-β1/ITGB1 function-blocking antibody that reduces sperm-egg binding significantly inhibited ADAM2 binding to mouse eggs. Analysis of integrin subunit expression indicates that mouse eggs could express at least ten different integrins, five in the RGD-binding family, two in the laminin-binding family, two in the collagen-binding family, and ITGA9-ITGB1. Adhesion assays to characterize ADAM2 interactions with ITGA4/ITGA9 family members produced the surprising result that RPMI 8866 cell adhesion to ADAM2 was inhibited by an anti-ITGA9 antibody, noteworthy because ITGA9 has only been reported to dimerize with ITGB1, and RPMI 8866 cells lack detectable ITGB1. Antibody and siRNA studies demonstrate that ITGB7 is the b subunit contributing to RPMI 8866 adhesion to ADAM2. Conclusions/Significance: These data indicate that a novel integrin α-β combination, ITGA9-ITGB7 (α9β7), in RPMI 8866 cells functions as a binding partner for ADAM2. ITGA9 had previously only been reported to dimerize with ITGB1. Although ITGA9-ITGB7 is unlikely to be a widely expressed integrin and appears to be the result of "compensatory dimerization" occurring in the context of little/no ITGB1 expression, the data indicate that ITGA9-ITGB7 functions as an ADAM binding partner in certain cellular contexts, with implications for mammalian fertilization and integrin function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)