Cell migration is a key process for the defense of pluricellular organisms against pathogens, and it involves a set of surface receptors acting in an ordered fashion to contribute directionality to the movement. Among these receptors are the integrins, which connect the cell cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix components, thus playing a central role in cell migration. Integrin clustering at focal adhesions drives actin polymerization along the cell leading edge, resulting in polarity of cell movement. Therefore, small integrin-binding proteins such as the snake venom disintegrins that inhibit integrin-mediated cell adhesion are expected to inhibit cell migration. Here we review the current knowledge on disintegrin and disintegrin-like protein effects on cell migration and their potential use as pharmacological tools in anti-inflammatory therapy as well as in inhibition of metastatic invasion.
Keywords: ADAM; cell migration; disintegrin; snake venom; αvβ3 integrin.