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Neuronal Receptors Mediating Responses to AntibodyActivated Laminin-1


Embryonic retinal neurons lose the ability to extend neurites on laminin-1 (LN-1) with increasing developmental age yet still do so on other laminin isoforms. However, after treatment of LN-1 with antibodies to "short-arm" regions or removal of the short arms proteolytically, LN-1 supports attachment and extension of neurites even by late embryonic retinal neurons. We have mapped a domain for antibody-mediated "activation" of LN-1 to the N-terminal end of the alpha1 chain. Furthermore, we show that the primary receptors used in the retinal neuron response to "activated" LN-1 are integrins alpha3 beta1 and alpha6 beta1; these are the same receptors used by these neurons for outgrowth on other LN isoforms. Interestingly, alpha3 beta1 is preferentially involved in neurite outgrowth, whereas alpha6beta1 preferentially mediates attachment and spreading. However, in cultures from alpha3 integrin-deficient mice, alpha6 beta1 mediates retinal ganglion cell neurite outgrowth and compensates for the absence of alpha3 beta1. Finally, we show that key features of the retinal neuron response to LN-1 also characterize neurons of the hippocampus, thalamus, and cerebral cortex; these include poor response to untreated LN-1, extensive neurite outgrowth on antibody-activated LN-1 or on fragment E8, and dependence of this response on integrin alpha6 beta1 and at least one other long arm-binding beta1 integrin. These data suggest that regulation of LN-1 function via the process of activation could have important consequences for axonal regeneration. Curiously, the data also imply that the mechanism of laminin activation involves enhanced function at sites that cannot be considered cryptic.

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