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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2007 Oct;19(5):495-507. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Structure and mechanics of integrin-based cell adhesion.

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Nephrology Division, Leukocyte Biology & Inflammation Program, Structural Biology Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, 149 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, United States.


Integrins are alpha/beta heterodimeric adhesion glycoprotein receptors that regulate a wide variety of dynamic cellular processes such as cell migration, phagocytosis, and growth and development. X-ray crystallography of the integrin ectodomain revealed its modular architecture and defined its metal-dependent interaction with extracellular ligands. This interaction is regulated from inside the cell (inside-out activation), through the short cytoplasmic alpha and beta integrin tails, which also mediate biochemical and mechanical signals transmitted to the cytoskeleton by the ligand-occupied integrins, effecting major changes in cell shape, behavior, and fate. Recent advances in the structural elucidation of integrins and integrin-binding cytoskeleton proteins are the subjects of this review.

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