Cell proliferation is controlled not only by soluble mitogens but also by components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) such as fibronectin, to which cells adhere via the integrin family of transmembrane receptors. Input from both growth factor receptors and integrins is required to stimulate progression through the G1 phase of the cell cycle, via induction of G1 cyclins and suppression of inhibitors of the G1 cyclin-dependent kinases. Extensive crosstalk takes place between integrin and growth factor receptor signaling pathways, and mitogenic signaling is weak and transient in the absence of integrin-mediated cell adhesion. In normal untransformed cells, all of the important mitogenic signal transduction cascades, namely those downstream of the Ras and Rho family small GTPases and the phosphoinositide 3-OH kinase-PKB/Akt pathway, are regulated by integrin-mediated cell adhesion. As a result, these cells are anchorage-dependent for growth. In contrast, constitutive activity of each of these pathways has been reported in cancer cells, which not only reduces their mitogen dependence but also allows these cells to grow in an anchorage-independent fashion.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.