Haptokinetic cell migration across surfaces is mediated by adhesion receptors including β1 integrins and CD44 providing adhesion to extracellular matrix (ECM) ligands such as collagen and hyaluronan (HA), respectively. Little is known, however, about how such different receptor systems synergize for cell migration through three-dimensionally (3-D) interconnected ECM ligands. In highly motile human MV3 melanoma cells, both β1 integrins and CD44 are abundantly expressed, support migration across collagen and HA, respectively, and are deposited upon migration, whereas only β1 integrins but not CD44 redistribute to focal adhesions. In 3-D collagen lattices in the presence or absence of HA and cross-linking chondroitin sulfate, MV3 cell migration and associated functions such as polarization and matrix reorganization were blocked by anti-β1 and anti-α2 integrin mAbs, whereas mAbs blocking CD44, α3, α5, α6, or αv integrins showed no effect. With use of highly sensitive time-lapse videomicroscopy and computer-assisted cell tracking techniques, promigratory functions of CD44 were excluded. 1) Addition of HA did not increase the migratory cell population or its migration velocity, 2) blocking of the HA-binding Hermes-1 epitope did not affect migration, and 3) impaired migration after blocking or activation of β1 integrins was not restored via CD44. Because α2β1-mediated migration was neither synergized nor replaced by CD44–HA interactions, we conclude that the biophysical properties of 3-D multicomponent ECM impose more restricted molecular functions of adhesion receptors, thereby differing from haptokinetic migration across surfaces
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