This article review summarizes data on cell-substratum adhesion complexes involved in the regulation of cellular functions in the intestine. We first focus on the molecular composition of the two main adhesion structures-the beta1 integrin-adhesion complex and the hemidesmosome-found in vivo and in two human intestinal cell lines. We also report the key findings on the cellular behavior and response to the extracellular matrix that involve integrins, the main transmembrane anchors of these complexes. How the dynamics of cell/extracellular matrix interactions contribute to cell migration, proliferation, differentiation, and tumorigenicity is discussed in the light of the data provided by the human intestinal cells.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.