Laminins are a family of trimeric glycoproteins present in the extracellular matrix and the major constituents of basement membranes. Integrins are alpha beta transmembrane receptors that play critical roles in both cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion. Several members of the integrin family, including alpha 1 beta 1, alpha 2 beta 1, alpha 3 beta 1, alpha 6 beta 1, alpha 7 beta 1 and alpha 6 beta 4 heterodimers serve as laminin receptors on a variety of cell types. This review summarizes recent advances in understanding the involvement of individual integrins in cell interactions with laminins and the roles of laminin-binding integrins in adhesion-mediated events in vertebrates, including embryonic development, cell migration and tumor cell invasiveness, cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as basement membrane assembly. We discuss the regulation of integrin function via alternative splicing of cytoplasmic domains of alpha and beta subunits of the integrin receptors for laminins and present examples of functional collaboration between laminin-binding integrins and non-integrin laminin receptors. Advances in our understanding of the laminin-binding integrins continue to demonstrate the essential roles these receptors play in maintaining cell polarity and tissue architecture.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.