Lysyl oxidase (LOX) oxidizes the side chain of peptidyl lysine converting specific lysine residues to residues of alpha-aminoadipic-delta-semialdehyde. This posttranslational chemical change permits the covalent crosslinking of the component chains of collagen and those of elastin, thus stabilizing the fibrous deposits of these proteins in the extracellular matrix. Four LOX-like (LOXL) proteins with varying degrees of similarity to LOX have been described, constituting a family of related proteins. LOX is synthesized as a preproprotein which emerges from the cell as proLOX and then is processed to the active enzyme by proteolysis. In addition to elastin and collagen, LOX can oxidize lysine within a variety of cationic proteins, suggesting that its functions extend beyond its role in the stabilization of the extracellular matrix. Indeed, recent findings reveal that LOX and LOXL proteins markedly influence cell behavior including chemotactic responses, proliferation, and shifts between the normal and malignant phenotypes.