Current insights into the formation and breakdown of hemidesmosomes

Trends Cell Biol. 2006 Jul;16(7):376-83. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2006.05.004. Epub 2006 Jun 6.


Hemidesmosomes are multiprotein adhesion complexes that promote epithelial stromal attachment in stratified and complex epithelia. Modulation of their function is of crucial importance in a variety of biological processes, such as differentiation and migration of keratinocytes during wound healing and carcinoma invasion, in which cells become detached from the substrate and acquire a motile phenotype. Although much is known about the signaling potential of the alpha6beta4 integrin in carcinoma cells, the events that coordinate the disassembly of hemidesmosomes during differentiation and wound healing remain unclear. The binding of alpha6beta4 to plectin has a central role in hemidesmosome assembly and it is becoming clear that disrupting this interaction is a crucial event in hemidesmosome disassembly. In addition, further insight into the functional interplay between alpha3beta1 and alpha6beta4 has contributed to our understanding of hemidesmosome disassembly and cell migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Hemidesmosomes / chemistry
  • Hemidesmosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Integrins / chemistry
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Plectin / chemistry
  • Plectin / metabolism
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena


  • Integrins
  • Laminin
  • Plectin