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J Cell Sci. 2004 Feb 15;117(Pt 5):657-66.

Integrin activation.

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Department of Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, Sterling Hall of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The ability of cells to regulate dynamically their adhesion to one another and to the extracellular matrix (ECM) that surrounds them is essential in multicellular organisms. The integrin family of transmembrane adhesion receptors mediates both cell-cell and cell-ECM adhesion. One important, rapid and reversible mechanism for regulating adhesion is by increasing the affinity of integrin receptors for their extracellular ligands (integrin activation). This is controlled by intracellular signals that, through their action on integrin cytoplasmic domains, induce conformational changes in integrin extracellular domains that result in increased affinity for ligand. Recent studies have shed light on the final intracellular steps in this process and have revealed a vital role for the cytoskeletal protein talin.

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