Structure and mechanics of integrin-based cell adhesion

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2007 Oct;19(5):495-507. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2007 Oct 24.


Integrins are alpha/beta heterodimeric adhesion glycoprotein receptors that regulate a wide variety of dynamic cellular processes such as cell migration, phagocytosis, and growth and development. X-ray crystallography of the integrin ectodomain revealed its modular architecture and defined its metal-dependent interaction with extracellular ligands. This interaction is regulated from inside the cell (inside-out activation), through the short cytoplasmic alpha and beta integrin tails, which also mediate biochemical and mechanical signals transmitted to the cytoskeleton by the ligand-occupied integrins, effecting major changes in cell shape, behavior, and fate. Recent advances in the structural elucidation of integrins and integrin-binding cytoskeleton proteins are the subjects of this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / chemistry
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Focal Adhesions / metabolism
  • Integrins / chemistry*
  • Integrins / metabolism*
  • Integrins / ultrastructure
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Protein Subunits* / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Talin / metabolism


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Integrins
  • Ligands
  • Protein Subunits
  • Talin