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J Cell Sci. 2009 Jan 15;122(Pt 2):171-7. doi: 10.1242/jcs.018945.

Integrins and cell-fate determination.

Author information

  • Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK. cstreuli@manchester.ac.uk


All cellular processes are determined by adhesive interactions between cells and their local microenvironment. Integrins, which constitute one class of cell-adhesion receptor, are multifunctional proteins that link cells to the extracellular matrix and organise integrin adhesion complexes at the cell periphery. Integrin-based adhesions provide anchor points for assembling and organising the cytoskeleton and cell shape, and for orchestrating migration. Integrins also control the fate and function of cells by influencing their proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. Moreover, new literature demonstrates that integrins control the cell-division axis at mitosis. This extends the influence of integrins over cell-fate decisions, as daughter cells are frequently located in new microenvironments that determine their behaviour following cell division. In this Commentary, I describe how integrins influence cell-fate determination, placing particular emphasis on their role in influencing the direction of cell division and the orientation of the mitotic spindle.

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