Integrin bi-directional signaling across the plasma membrane

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Integrins are heterodimeric cell adhesion molecules that are important in many biological functions, such as cell migration, proliferation, differentiation, and survival. They can transmit bi-directional signals across the plasma membrane. Inside-out activating signal from some cell surface receptors bound with soluble agonists triggers integrins conformational change leading to high affinity for extracellular ligands. Then binding of ligands to integrins results in outside-in signaling, leading to formation of focal adhesion complex at the integrin cytoplasmic tail and activation of downstream signal pathways. This bi-directional signaling is essential for rapid response of cell to surrounding environmental changes. During this process, the conformational change of integrin extracellular and transmembrane/cytoplasmic domains is particularly important. In this review, we will summarize recent progress in both inside-out and outside-in signaling with specific focus on the mechanism how integrins transmit bi-directional signals through transmembrane/cytoplasmic domains. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Journal of Cellular Physiology

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