Division of labor of Schwann cell integrins during migration on peripheral nerve extracellular matrix ligands

Richard Milner, Martin Wilby, Stephen Nishimura, Kevin Boylen, Gwynneth Edwards, James Fawcett, Charles Streuli, Robert Pytela, Charles Ffrench-Constant

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Myelination of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) requires the migration of Schwann cells during both development and regeneration. We have characterized the expression pattern of Schwann cell integrins and analyzed their role in migration on different ECM substrates known to be present within the PNS. We found that Schwann cells in cell culture express four β1 integrins, α1l, α2β1, α6β1, and another unidentified β1 integrin, as well as two αv integrins, αvβ3 and αvβ8. Using the Varani migration assay, we found that laminin-1, laminin-2 (merosin), and fibronectin increased Schwann cell migration, while vitronectin and collagen did not increase migration compared to an uncoated plastic substrate. Schwann cell migration on laminin-1 and laminin-2 (merosin) was blocked by antibodies against β1 integrins, but not affected by RGD peptides or antibodies against β3 integrins. In contrast, migration on fibronectin was unaffected by antibodies against β1 and β3 integrins but was blocked by RGD peptides. This in vitro study shows that there is a division of labor of Schwann cell integrins in the regulation of migration on peripheral nerve ECM components; pi integrins mediate migration on laminin-1 and laminin-2 (merosin), while αv integrins mediate migration on fibronectin. Taken together, these results suggest that multiple interactions between Schwann cell integrins and ECM within the PNS will contribute to Schwann cell migration during myelination of the PNS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1997

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