Send to

Choose Destination
J Cell Sci. 2009 Jan 15;122(Pt 2):165-70. doi: 10.1242/jcs.018556.

Linking integrin conformation to function.

Author information

Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.


Integrins are alphabeta heterodimeric adhesion receptors that relay signals bidirectionally across the plasma membrane between the extracellular matrix and cell-surface ligands, and cytoskeletal and signalling effectors. The physical and chemical signals that are controlled by integrins are essential for intercellular communication and underpin all aspects of metazoan existence. To mediate such diverse functions, integrins exhibit structural diversity, flexibility and dynamism. Conformational changes, as opposed to surface expression or clustering, are central to the regulation of receptor function. In recent years, there has been intense interest in determining the three-dimensional structure of integrins, and analysing the shape changes that underpin the interconversion between functional states. Considering the central importance of the integrin signalling nexus, it is perhaps no surprise that obtaining this information has been difficult, and the answers gained so far have been complicated. In this Commentary, we pose some of the key remaining questions that surround integrin structure-function relationships and review the evidence that supports the current models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center