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Microsc Res Tech. 2000 Nov 1;51(3):214-27.

Laminins: structure and genetic regulation.

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  • 1Institute for Biochemistry, Medical Faculty, University of Cologne, D-50931 Cologne, Germany.


The laminins form a large family of modular proteins found in basement membranes, but also elsewhere. They function as structural components and are essential for morphogenesis, but in addition interact with cell surface receptors such as integrins and alpha-dystroglycan. By virtue of their receptor interactions, they initiate intracellular signalling events that regulate cellular organization and differentiation. The many interactions of laminins are mediated by binding sites, often contributed by single domains, which may differ between different forms of laminin. In the present article, we describe how the diversity of laminins and the genetic regulation of the expression of different laminin forms lead to the formation of extracellular matrices with variable laminin composition and thereby different biological properties.

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