Integrins

Definition

Integrins are transmembrane glycoproteins that mediate attachment of cells to the extracellular matrix or to other cells via interactions with proteins such as fibronectin and collagen. Integrins also transmit signals from outside to inside the cell by regulating receptor tyrosine kinase signalling. Integrins are heterodimers of different α- and β-subunits.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Genetic mutations in the SHANK family of proteins are linked to multiple neuropsychiatric disorders including autism spectrum disorders. A study now elucidates critical roles for SHANK in regulating integrin-mediated cell–extracellular matrix adhesion, by sequestering integrin activators.

    • Paul Atherton
    •  & Christoph Ballestrem
    Nature Cell Biology 19, 265–267
  • News and Views |

    Many biological processes are influenced by the mechanical rigidity of surrounding tissues. Now, a combination of experiments and mathematical modelling has been used to describe the precise molecular and physical mechanism by which cells sense and respond to the mechanical properties of their extracellular environment through integrin-based adhesions.

    • Vinay Swaminathan
    •  & Clare M. Waterman
    Nature Cell Biology 18, 459–461
  • News and Views |

    Regulation of integrin activity is critical for human health, and the steps mediating integrin activation are well established. In contrast, the counteracting mechanisms of inactivation are less understood. An integrin inhibitor, filamin, is shown to stabilize the integrin resting state by bondage of the cytoplasmic domains of the integrin heterodimer, thus providing evidence of a new mechanism for integrin retention in the inactive state.

    • Nicola De Franceschi
    •  & Johanna Ivaska
  • News and Views |

    Integrin-based focal adhesions integrate biochemical and biomechanical signals from the extracellular matrix and the actin cytoskeleton. The combination of three-dimensional super-resolution imaging and loss- or gain-of-function protein mutants now links the nanoscale dynamic localization of proteins to their activation and function within focal adhesions.

    • Grégory Giannone
    Nature Cell Biology 17, 845–847
  • News and Views |

    Expansion of a vascular network requires breaking through the basement membrane, a highly crosslinked barrier that tightly adheres to mature vessels. Angiogenic endothelial cells are now shown to form podosome rosettes that are able to focally degrade the extracellular matrix, prior to vascular sprouting in tumour angiogenesis.

    • Carmen M. Warren
    •  & M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe
    Nature Cell Biology 16, 928–930