Cloned integrin α2 subunit complementary DNA was expressed on human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells to give a functional VLA-2 (α2β1) adhesion receptor. The VLA-2-positive RDA2 cells not only showed increased adhesion to collagen and laminin in vitro, but also formed substantially more metastatic tumor colonies in nude mice after either intravenous or subcutaneous injection. These results show that a specific adhesion receptor (VLA-2) can markedly enhance both experimental and spontaneous metastasis. In contrast to the metastasis results, there was no difference in either the in vitro growth rate or apparent in vivo tumorigenicity of RD and RDA2 cells.
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