Development of wound therapies is hindered by poor understanding of combinatorial integrin function in the epidermis. In this study, we generated mice with epidermis-specific deletion of α3β1, α9β1, or both integrins as well as keratinocyte lines expressing these integrin combinations. Consistent with proangiogenic roles for α3β1, α3-null keratinocytes showed reduced paracrine stimulation of endothelial cell migration and survival, and wounds of epidermis-specific α3 knockout mice displayed impaired angiogenesis. Interestingly, α9β1 in keratinocytes suppressed α3β1-mediated stimulation of endothelial cells, and wounds of epidermis-specific α9 knockout mice displayed delayed vascular normalization and reduced endothelial apoptosis, indicating that α9β1 cross-suppresses α3β1 proangiogenic functions. Moreover, α9β1 inhibited α3β1 signaling downstream of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) autoactivation at the point of Src-mediated phosphorylation of FAK Y861/Y925. Finally, α9β1 cross-suppressed many α3β1-dependent genes, including the gene that encodes MMP-9, which we implicated as a regulator of integrin-dependent cross talk to endothelial cells. Our findings identify a novel physiological context for combinatorial integrin signaling, laying the foundation for therapeutic strategies that manipulate α9β1 and/or α3β1 during wound healing.
- Submitted: 12 October 2015
- Revision received 10 February 2017
- Accepted: 14 March 2017
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