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I read with interest the study by De Archangelis et al 1 on the protective role of hemidesmosomes against colitis and colorectal cancer using genetically modified mouse integrin α6 subunit mutant models. I was however surprised to read that, based on their observations with these α6 mutant mice, the authors concluded that the α6β4 integrin can be classified as a tumour suppressor in the colon. Indeed, earlier studies have reported that in carcinomas, α6β4 can be released from hemidesmosomes to become associated with microfilament-associated cell motility adhesomes and, consequently, engage in various signal transduction pathways that contribute to tumour progression.2 3 While it is recognised that the roles of α6β4 may …
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