Characterization of caveolins from human knee joint cartilage: expression of caveolin-1, -2, and -3 in chondrocytes and association with integrin β1
Interactions between the extracellular matrix (ECM) and chondrocytes are of great importance for structure and function of cartilage. The present study was undertaken to answer the question whether caveolins take part in integrin-mediated cell–ECM interactions in the human cartilage. In samples of human knee joint cartilage, we detected the caveolin subtypes -1, -2, and -3 by immunohistochemical methods. Double-label experiments revealed a colocalization of caveolin with β1-integrin. Results of immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting assays show that β1-integrins associate with all three caveolin subtypes in human chondrocytes and indicate that they are part of the same complexes. Furthermore, immunoelectron microscopy shows the localization of β1-integrin in caveolae-like structures of the cell membrane. The data stimulate further investigations on the role of the caveolin–integrin complex for integrin-mediated signaling pathways in chondrocytes.