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Wound healing is defective in mice lacking tetraspanin CD151.

Cowin AJ, Adams D, Geary SM, Wright MD, Jones JC, Ashman LK

  • Journal The Journal of investigative dermatology

  • Published 30 Mar 2006

  • Volume 126

  • ISSUE 3

  • Pagination 680-9

  • DOI 10.1038/sj.jid.5700142


The tetraspanin CD151 forms complexes in epithelial cell membranes with laminin-binding integrins alpha6beta4, alpha3beta1, and alpha6beta1, and modifies integrin-mediated cell migration in vitro. We demonstrate in this study that CD151 expression is upregulated in a distinct temporal and spatial pattern during wound healing, particularly in the migrating epidermal tongue at the wound edge, suggesting a role for CD151 in keratinocyte migration. We show that healing is significantly impaired in CD151-null mice, with wounds gaping wider at 7 days post-injury. The rate of re-epithelialization of the CD151-null wounds is adversely affected, with significantly less wound area being covered by migrating epidermal cells. Our studies reveal that although laminin levels are similar in wild-type and CD151-null wounds, the organization of the laminin in the basement membrane is impaired. Furthermore, upregulation of alpha6 and beta4 integrin expression is adversely affected in CD151-null mice wounds. In contrast, we find no significant effect of CD151 gene knockout on alpha3 and beta1 integrin expression in wound repair. We suggest that mice lacking the CD151 gene are defective in wound healing, primarily owing to impairment of the re-epithelialization process. This may be due to defective basement membrane formation and epithelial cell adhesion and migration.