Collagens have been shown to influence the survival and function of cultured beta-cells; however, the utilization and function of individual collagen receptors in beta-cells is largely unknown. The integrin superfamily contains up to five collagen receptors, but we have determined that alpha(1)beta(1) is the primary receptor utilized by both fetal and adult beta-cells. Cultured beta-cells adhered to and migrated on collagen type IV (Col-IV), and these responses were mediated almost exclusively by alpha(1)beta(1). The migration of cultured beta-cells to Col-IV significantly exceeded that to other matrix components suggesting that this substrate is of unique importance for beta-cell motility. The interaction of alpha(1)beta(1) with Col-IV also resulted in significant insulin secretion at basal glucose concentrations. A subset of beta-cells in developing islets was confirmed to express alpha(1)beta(1), and this expression co-localized with Col-IV in the basal membranes of juxtaposed endothelial cells. Our findings indicate that alpha(1)beta(1) and Col-IV contribute to beta-cell functions known to be important for islet morphogenesis and glucose homeostasis.