Cellular receptors of extracellular matrix molecules

Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(12):1309-17. doi: 10.2174/138161209787846720.


Extracellular matrix (ECM) is composed of large collagen fibrils. Glycoproteins, such as fibronectin, can bind to collagen or form their own networks. Collagen fibrils are also decorated by proteoglycans, proteins that have large glycosaminoglycan sidechains. In addition, extracellular space often contains hyaluronan, a large glycosaminoglycan molecule that has no core protein. Basement membranes represent a specialized form of extracellular matrix. Basement membranes are built by laminin and type IV collagen networks. In multicellular animals cells are anchored to ECM and basement membranes. Cell locomotion during development and after tissue injury is also based on cellular interactions with different matrix molecules. Specific cell surface receptors mediate these interactions. The largest family of receptors, which mediates cell adhesion to fibronectin, laminins and collagens is called the integrins. Several other cellular receptors have also evolved to bind to various matrix components. Here, we review the basic facts about these receptors and shortly describe their role in human diseases, including cancer and inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / metabolism
  • Receptors, Collagen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Fibronectin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Laminin / metabolism


  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Receptors, Collagen
  • Receptors, Fibronectin
  • Receptors, Laminin