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Bioessays. 1996 Aug;18(8):655-60.

Epithelial integrins.

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Lung Biology Center, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


The integrin family was originally described as a family of adhesion receptors, utilized by cells for attachment to and migration across components of the extracellular matrix. Epithelial cells in adult tissues are generally stationary cells, but these cells nevertheless express several different integrins. This review will discuss the evidence that integrins on epithelial cells are also likely to function as signaling molecules, allowing these cells to detect attachment or detachment, and changes in the local composition of ligands. Signals initiated by integrins appear to modulate epithelial cell differentiation, proliferation, survival, and gene expression. Because the local concentration of integrin ligands is altered by injury, inflammation, and remodeling, signals initiated through integrins are likely to play important roles in the responses of epithelial cells to each of these processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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