Cinzia Molendini

FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (3)22.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The membrane-associated adhesion molecule JAM-A is required for neutrophil infiltration in inflammatory or ischemic tissues. JAM-A expressed in both endothelial cells and neutrophils has such a role, but the mechanism of action remains elusive. Here we show that JAM-A has a cell-autonomous role in neutrophil chemotaxis both in vivo and in vitro, which is independent of the interaction of neutrophils with endothelial cells. On activated neutrophils, JAM-A concentrates in a polarized fashion at the leading edge and uropod. Surprisingly, a significant amount of this protein is internalized in intracellular endosomal-like vesicles where it codistributes with integrin beta1. Clustering of beta1 integrin leads to JAM-A co-clustering, whereas clustering of JAM-A does not induce integrin association. Neutrophils derived from JAM-A-null mice are unable to correctly internalize beta1 integrins upon chemotactic stimuli and this causes impaired uropod retraction and cell motility. Consistently, inhibition of integrin internalization upon treatment with BAPTA-AM induces a comparable phenotype. These data indicate that JAM-A is required for the correct internalization and recycling of integrins during cell migration and might explain why, in its absence, the directional migration of neutrophils towards an inflammatory stimulus is markedly impaired.
    Journal of Cell Science 02/2009; 122(Pt 2):268-77. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adhesive intercellular junctions between endothelial cells are formed by tight junctions and adherens junctions. In addition to promoting cell-to-cell adhesion, these structures regulate paracellular permeability, contact inhibition of endothelial cell growth, cell survival, and maintenance of cell polarity. Furthermore, adherens junctions are required for the correct organization of new vessels during embryo development or during tissue proliferation in the adult. Extensive research on cultured epithelial and endothelial cells has resulted in the identification of many molecular components of tight junctions and adherens junctions. Such studies have revealed the complexity of these structures, which are formed by membrane-associated adhesion proteins and a network of several intracellular signaling partners. This review focuses on the structural organization of junctional structures and their functional interactions in the endothelium of blood vessels and lymphatics. We emphasize the way that these structures regulate endothelial cell homeostasis by transferring specific intracellular signals and by modulating activation and signaling of growth factor receptors.
    Cell and Tissue Research 11/2008; 335(1):17-25. · 3.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recirculation of fluid and cells through lymphatic vessels plays a key role in normal tissue homeostasis, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Despite recent advances in understanding lymphatic function (Alitalo, K., T. Tammela, and T.V. Petrova. 2005. Nature. 438:946-953), the cellular features responsible for entry of fluid and cells into lymphatics are incompletely understood. We report the presence of novel junctions between endothelial cells of initial lymphatics at likely sites of fluid entry. Overlapping flaps at borders of oak leaf-shaped endothelial cells of initial lymphatics lacked junctions at the tip but were anchored on the sides by discontinuous button-like junctions (buttons) that differed from conventional, continuous, zipper-like junctions (zippers) in collecting lymphatics and blood vessels. However, both buttons and zippers were composed of vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) and tight junction-associated proteins, including occludin, claudin-5, zonula occludens-1, junctional adhesion molecule-A, and endothelial cell-selective adhesion molecule. In C57BL/6 mice, VE-cadherin was required for maintenance of junctional integrity, but platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 was not. Growing tips of lymphatic sprouts had zippers, not buttons, suggesting that buttons are specialized junctions rather than immature ones. Our findings suggest that fluid enters throughout initial lymphatics via openings between buttons, which open and close without disrupting junctional integrity, but most leukocytes enter the proximal half of initial lymphatics.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 11/2007; 204(10):2349-62. · 13.21 Impact Factor