Integrin modulation and signaling in leukocyte adhesion and migration

Immunol Rev. 2007 Aug;218:126-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2007.00536.x.


The movement of leukocytes from the blood into peripheral tissues plays a key role in immunity as well as chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The shear force of blood flow presents special challenges to leukocytes as they establish adhesion on the vascular endothelium and migrate into the underlying tissues. Integrins are a family of cell adhesion and signaling molecules, whose function can be regulated to meet these challenges. The affinity of integrins for their vascular ligands can be stimulated in subseconds by chemoattractant signaling. This aids in inducing leukocyte adhesion under flow conditions. Further, linkage of these integrins to the actin cytoskeleton also helps to establish adhesion to the endothelium under flow conditions. In the case of alpha4beta1 integrins, this linkage of the integrin to the cytoskeleton is mediated in part by the binding of paxillin to the alpha4 integrin subunit and the subsequent binding of paxillin to the cytoskeleton molecule talin. The movement of leukocytes along the vascular endothelium and in between endothelial cells requires the temporal and spatial regulation of small guanosine triphosphatases, such as Rac1. We describe mechanisms through which alpha4beta1 integrin signaling regulates appropriate Rac activation to drive leukocyte migration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Cell Polarity
  • Humans
  • Integrins / immunology*
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes / cytology*
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Leukocytes / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Integrins