Regulation of integrin functions by N-glycans

Glycoconj J. 2004;21(1-2):9-15. doi: 10.1023/B:GLYC.0000043741.47559.30.


Integrins are cell surface transmembrane glycoproteins that function as adhesion receptors in cell-ECM interactions and link matrix proteins to the cytoskeleton. Integrins play an important role in cytoskeleton organization and in the transduction of intracellular signals, regulating various processes such as proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and cell migration. Although integrin-mediated adhesion is based on the binding of alpha and beta subunits to a defined peptide sequence, the strength of this binding is modulated by various factors including the status of glycosylation of integrin. Glycosylation reactions are catalyzed by the catalytic action of glycosyltransferases, such as N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase III, V and alpha1, 6 fucosyltransferase, etc., which catalyze the formation of glycosidic bonds. This review summarizes effects of the posttranslational modification of N-glycans of alpha3beta1 and alpha5beta1 integrins on their association, activation and biological functions, by using biochemical and genetic approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha3beta1 / metabolism
  • Integrin alpha5beta1 / metabolism
  • Integrin beta Chains / metabolism
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases / physiology
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction


  • Integrin alpha3beta1
  • Integrin alpha5beta1
  • Integrin beta Chains
  • Integrins
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Peptides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases
  • beta-1,4-mannosyl-glycoprotein beta-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase
  • alpha-1,6-mannosylglycoprotein beta 1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase