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Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Dec;14(12):678-86.

Integrins: versatile integrators of extracellular signals.

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Departments of Pathology and Medical Genetics, and Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QP, UK.


Extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules and growth factors have a crucial role in the signalling that controls cell behaviour during development. Integrins, which are cell-surface receptors for ECM molecules, and growth factor receptors cooperate with each other to regulate this signalling by several mechanisms. In particular, direct interactions between the integrin and growth factor receptors themselves, which often occur within a single macromolecular complex, amplify signalling by mechanisms that include posttranslational modifications and integrin shape changes that are related to activation. As a result, growth factor concentrations in the physiological range, which are too low to initiate signalling alone, do so in the presence of the ECM, enabling integrins to control the time and space of growth factor signalling.

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