We investigated the role of the integrins alpha v beta 3 and alpha v beta 5 in mediating vitronectin adhesion of three phenotypically distinct cell types. M21 human melanoma cells and H2981 lung carcinoma cells use both alpha v-containing integrins in adhering to vitronectin while UCLA-P3 lung carcinoma cells adhere exclusively with alpha v beta 5. Specifically, monoclonal antibodies directed to functional epitopes on both receptors were required to block adhesion of M21 or H2981 cells while adhesion of UCLA-P3 cells to vitronectin could be blocked with a monoclonal antibody to alpha v beta 5. Although both receptors are involved in M21 and H2981 cell adhesion to vitronectin, only alpha v beta 3 can be detected in focal contacts, colocalizing with vinculin, talin, and the ends of actin filaments, while alpha v beta 5 shows a distinct, nonfocal contact, distribution on the cell surface. These results provide the first evidence that two homologous integrins that recognize the same ligand distribute differentially on the cell surface.

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