Integrin signaling, cell survival, and anoikis: distinctions, differences, and differentiation

J Signal Transduct. 2011;2011:738137. doi: 10.1155/2011/738137. Epub 2011 Jul 13.


Cell survival and apoptosis implicate an increasing complexity of players and signaling pathways which regulate not only the decision-making process of surviving (or dying), but as well the execution of cell death proper. The same complex nature applies to anoikis, a form of caspase-dependent apoptosis that is largely regulated by integrin-mediated, cell-extracellular matrix interactions. Not surprisingly, the regulation of cell survival, apoptosis, and anoikis furthermore implicates additional mechanistic distinctions according to the specific tissue, cell type, and species. Incidentally, studies in recent years have unearthed yet another layer of complexity in the regulation of these cell processes, namely, the implication of cell differentiation state-specific mechanisms. Further analyses of such differentiation state-distinct mechanisms, either under normal or physiopathological contexts, should increase our understanding of diseases which implicate a deregulation of integrin function, cell survival, and anoikis.