A novel integrin (alpha E beta 4) from human epithelial cells suggests a fourth family of integrin adhesion receptors.
A new member of the integrin superfamily of adhesion receptors was isolated from human epithelial cells. Analogously to other integrins, this molecule is a heterodimer comprised of structurally unrelated subunits, both glycosylated. Unequivocal amino-acid sequence homologies were observed between these subunits and integrin alpha and beta chain sequences, indicating that this epithelial heterodimer is a novel integrin. No obvious serologic cross-reactivities were detected with other integrins. The beta chain of the epithelial integrin displayed a mol. wt significantly higher than other integrin beta chains, possibly due to a large sialic acid content. Integrin heterodimers are grouped into three families, based on which of three beta chains (beta 1, beta 2 and beta 3) they contain. Therefore, the epithelial integrin may represent the prototype of a fourth integrin family, because it contains a structurally distinct beta chain. The designation alpha E beta 4 is proposed for this novel human integrin.