Regulation of hemidesmosome dynamics and cell signaling by integrin α6β4

J Cell Sci. 2021 Sep 15;134(18):jcs259004. doi: 10.1242/jcs.259004. Epub 2021 Sep 15.


Hemidesmosomes (HDs) are specialized multiprotein complexes that connect the keratin cytoskeleton of epithelial cells to the extracellular matrix (ECM). In the skin, these complexes provide stable adhesion of basal keratinocytes to the underlying basement membrane. Integrin α6β4 is a receptor for laminins and plays a vital role in mediating cell adhesion by initiating the assembly of HDs. In addition, α6β4 has been implicated in signal transduction events that regulate diverse cellular processes, including proliferation and survival. In this Review, we detail the role of α6β4 in HD assembly and beyond, and we discuss the molecular mechanisms that regulate its function.

Keywords: Cell adhesion; Cellular tension; Hemidesmosome; Integrin; Keratin; Signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion
  • Hemidesmosomes*
  • Integrin alpha6beta4* / genetics
  • Keratinocytes
  • Signal Transduction


  • Integrin alpha6beta4