Structure and function of a vimentin-associated matrix adhesion in endothelial cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • The alpha4 laminin subunit is a component of endothelial cell basement membranes. An antibody (2A3) against the alpha4 laminin G domain stains focal contact-like structures in transformed and primary microvascular endothelial cells (TrHBMECs and HMVECs, respectively), provided the latter cells are activated with growth factors. The 2A3 antibody staining colocalizes with that generated by alphav and beta3 integrin antibodies and, consistent with this localization, TrHBMECs and HMVECs adhere to the alpha4 laminin subunit G domain in an alphavbeta3-integrin-dependent manner. The alphavbeta3 integrin/2A3 antibody positively stained focal contacts are recognized by vinculin antibodies as well as by antibodies against plectin. Unusually, vimentin intermediate filaments, in addition to microfilament bundles, interact with many of the alphavbeta3 integrin-positive focal contacts. We have investigated the function of alpha4-laminin and alphavbeta3-integrin, which are at the core of these focal contacts, in cultured endothelial cells. Antibodies against these proteins inhibit branching morphogenesis of TrHBMECs and HMVECs in vitro, as well as their ability to repopulate in vitro wounds. Thus, we have characterized an endothelial cell matrix adhesion, which shows complex cytoskeletal interactions and whose assembly is regulated by growth factors. Our data indicate that this adhesion structure may play a role in angiogenesis.

publication date

  • January 2001