We have previously identified the integrin (beta)1C-2 and characterised the distribution of (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 transcripts in various cell lines and normal cells. In this study we have investigated the expression of the two (beta)1C-variants in integrin (beta)1 deficient mouse GD25T cells. After stable transfection of the GD25T cells with cDNAs coding for (beta)1A, (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2, the cell surface expression of the (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 variants was found to be very low while the (beta)1A variant was expressed at high levels. Northern blot analysis showed that the level of (beta)1-transcript in the (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 clones was equal or higher than in the (beta)1A clones. Metabolic labelling and deglycosylation by endoglycosidase H treatment clearly demonstrated that the majority of the (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 chains did not become maturely glycosylated, nor did they dimerize with (alpha) subunits. After 20 hours of chase, the labelled (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 chains had been gradually degraded, whereas immature (beta)1A was converted into the maturely glycosylated form during the same period of time. Immunostaining showed intracellular (beta)1 localisation in the (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 expressing clones, while in the (beta)1A expressing clones the (beta)1 chains were mainly localised to focal adhesion sites and along fibronectin fibres. Taken together, we have shown that expression of both integrin (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 in GD25T cells result in very low cell surface expression compared with the normal (beta)1A isoform. Instead, both (beta)1C-1 and (beta)1C-2 chains remain in the endoplasmic reticulum until they are intracellularly degraded.

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