α3β1 integrin has been considered to be a mysterious adhesion molecule due to the pleiotropy in its ligand-binding specificity. However, recent studies have identified laminin isoforms as high-affinity ligands for this integrin, and demonstrated that α3β1 integrin plays a number of essential roles in development and differentiation, mainly by mediating the establishment and maintenance of epithelial tissues. Furthermore, α3β1 integrin is also implicated in many other biological phenomena, including cell growth and apoptosis, angiogenesis and neural functions. This integrin receptor forms complexes with various other membrane proteins, such as the transmembrane-4 superfamily proteins (tetraspanins), cytoskeletal proteins and signaling molecules. Recently, lines of evidence have been reported showing that complex formation regulates integrin functions in cell adhesion and migration, signal transduction across cell membranes, and cytoskeletal organization. In addition to these roles in physiological processes, α3β1 integrin performs crucial functions in various pathological processes, especially in wound healing, tumor invasion and metastasis, and infection by pathogenic microorganisms.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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