Integrins and other cell adhesion molecules

FASEB J. 1990 Aug;4(11):2868-80.


Cell-cell and cell-substratum interactions are mediated through several different families of receptors. In addition to targeting cell adhesion to specific extracellular matrix proteins and ligands on adjacent cells, these receptors influence many diverse processes including cellular growth, differentiation, junction formation, and polarity. Several families of adhesion receptors have been identified. These include: 1) the integrins, heterodimeric molecules that function both as cell-substratum and cell-cell adhesion receptors; 2) the adhesion molecules of the immunoglobulin superfamily, which are involved in cell-cell adhesion and especially important during embryo-genesis, wound healing, and the inflammatory response; 3) the cadherins, developmentally regulated, calcium-dependent homophilic cell-cell adhesion proteins; 4) the LEC-CAMs, cell adhesion molecules with lectin-like domains that mediate white blood cell/endothelial cell adhesion; and 5) homing receptors that target lymphocytes to specific lymphoid tissue. In this review we summarize recent data describing the structure and function of some of these cell adhesion molecules (with special emphasis on the integrin family) and discuss the possible role of these molecules in development, inflammation, wound healing, coagulation, and tumor metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Integrins / genetics*
  • Integrins / physiology
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Multigene Family
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology
  • Wound Healing


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Integrins
  • Macromolecular Substances