Complex functional interaction between integrin receptors and ion channels

Trends Cell Biol. 2006 Dec;16(12):631-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2006.10.003. Epub 2006 Oct 24.


Integrin receptors mediate adhesion of the cell to the extracellular matrix and thereby regulate cell motility, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. These processes are frequently accompanied by alterations in ion flow. Recent evidence suggests that integrins can regulate ion channels and form macromolecular complexes, thus contributing to the localization of the channel onto the plasma membrane. The integrin-channel complex regulates downstream signaling proteins, such as tyrosine kinases and GTPases. This process could occur in plasma membrane microdomains, such as caveolae. It seems that ion channels sometimes transmit their signals through conformational coupling, instead of change in ion fluxes. Finally, the channel protein is not merely a final target, because it often feeds back by controlling integrin activation and/or expression. These findings have important implications for the physiology of normal and neoplastic cells and suggest interesting perspectives for studies of synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Macromolecular Substances / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Integrins
  • Ion Channels
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Receptors, Cell Surface